Review Summary: An audible auto-biography.
"Music does reflect life" - Blackalicious, "Shallow Days"
Aesop Rock grew up on Long Island, same as me. Long Island really is a beautiful place; serene beaches, thick green forests, (mostly) friendly people. A good place for hip-hop to thrive, as many of the towns mimic New York City's hectic atmosphere and fiery fervor. At the same time it can be harrowingly silent. Daytime here is bustling, but once night falls, nearly dead. If it weren't for the moon Long Island would be completely black after dark; Long Island isn't a very comfortable place at night. You look around my hometown, which calls itself a city, and you're hard pressed to see anything stirring, not even a mouse. Not even a roach, or a flea. Silence. When it's dark and silent, anything can happen - and people show their true colors. They can relax without the stress of being seen, get high and drunk and high again and drift off into a deep sleep. Except me and Aesop are still awake, discussing the tedious life of a lonely young New Yorker, trading philosophies and sucking down the rest of the beer. His music reminds me of myself, walking through the streets just thinking, finding company only in the cool breeze the night always brought. Life isn't bad but it's not like it couldn't get a whole lot better. This album's climax, which occurs in it's final moments, recalls the ominous door in my mind through which I strayed outside my limits, finding things I didn't want to, and some that I did. My thoughts were often unclear like Aes' lyrics, but in retrospect they make sense, like Aes' lyrics. Anyway, I feel as if I've digressed. The Daylight EP
encapsulates my personality, my swinging emotions, and is my haven. A fine piece of art.
With production putting any producer to shame, the Daylight EP
is a roller coaster ride of ecstasy, melancholy, grief, confusion, and finally warmth. The moving bassline on opening track "Daylight" is so welcoming and necessary for the heavily layered lyrics, possibly the most confessional on the entire album. "All I ever wanted was to pick apart the day, put the pieces back together my way". Aesop is teetering on the edge of happiness and it's opposite, and as this wonderful song closes he declines into the cynical contrast, "Night Light", another Blockhead produced introspective Aesop track, with the coolest beat on the entire record, arguably, unless "Forest Crunk" counts in it's instrumental entirety. The thematic execution is brilliant; this record could be the most interesting painting in the entire gallery, that one painting that can get you laid for just looking at it. It's quirky, what with Aesop Rock's nearly annoying nasally accent. It's beautiful, as anyone can agree after listening to "Daylight". It's about society, a commentary, the niche of "Nickel Plated Pockets". It's hip-hop, and by that I mean breakdanceable for the lack of a better term to describe the duet "Alchemy" featuring fellow independent rapper Blueprint, the catchiest song without a doubt. It's a mental breakdown and a recovery from that. Final track "Maintenance" ends with a deadly silence and waits for you to nearly fall asleep before it breaks into the hidden "One Of Four (Thank You)", Aesop Rock's aforementioned climactic collapse, a grateful one at that; it's a song in which he admits his love and respect for the few who helped him through his toughest of times and allowed him to become Nike sponsered underground sensation Aesop Rock.
Long Island is an unforgiving place. Growing up here is a chore if you aren't connected, and when you are, you're fake. So how do you choose? Aesop took a similar path to mine, and I have a feeling we'll end up in the same place. I'm not saying I'm going to be a rapper, but I'll see (if I already haven't) the ungrateful soul of New York, finish my cigarettes, find love and move to paradise. Whether it be San Francisco or wherever, it doesn't matter, so long as I'm not here. The air is too thick, the days are too hot and the nights are too lonely. I feel like everyone else is an asshole, and maybe I'm an asshole too. New York lives too fast.