Cecil Otter
Rebel Yellow


4.5
superb

Review

by somberlain USER (64 Reviews)
April 29th, 2010 | 27 replies | 11,514 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even if alternative hip-hop is not your thing, you will surely be able to appreciate the creativity displayed on ‘Rebel Yellow’

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

One of the founders Minnesota based hip-hop collective Doomtree, Cecil Otter is not your typical rapper in any way shape or form; nothing about Cecil Otter is typical: his flow, his beats, his voice, his topics or his skin color. Originally released in 2006 as an “advanced version,” Rebel Yellow was re-released two years later on Sage Francis’ Strange Famous Records, giving the album some much deserved exposure.

On this completely self-produced album, Cecil Otter really makes an impression not only with his words but with his production and the two instrumental tracks are almost as captivating as the rest of the album. Rebel Yellow opens with a poem ‘Poet is Rapist’ which talks about how poems won’t change anything, it is a sexual metaphor that explains how the listener gets “Gets f*cked by letters.” Told in a very graphic manner with only a the light strumming of an acoustic guitar and at the end a booming snare comes in, it’s a very unusual but intriguing track.

Throughout the album, Cecil Otter relies on acoustic guitars to form the backbone of his beats, one of the few exceptions is ‘1999’ which is driven by a music box, and odd choice that somehow works well. Otter is able to convey his emotions, mainly sadness, through his voice, his lyrics and his beats. A melancholic mood is set where simple but beautiful sounds capes create a lush atmosphere with the crackle of vinyl and distant voices, also some well placed vocal samples as shown on ‘Traveling Dunktank’:

“So now I stepped into the side saddle, riding all alone
My only weapon is my mind
That and knowing that the road wrote a story of it’s own entitled
“I am yours to loan, but I ain’t yours to own, no I ain’t yours”
And only open eyes would know the lines and quotes
And no I haven’t always kept my eyes open, so I’m [alone]”


Featuring fellow Doomtree member P.O.S., ‘Traveling Dunktank’ features a haunting vocal samples sprinkled throughout the track but it’s the repetitive “alone” sample that really catches the ear especially done in different cadences. The piano-driven ‘Match Book Diaries’ is another highlight with Otter talking about a girl and spitting out words at a furious pace, he may not impress you with his vocabulary but his masterful use of simple words is astounding.

From the hypnotic guitar of ‘Box Car Diaries’ to the haunting vocal samples of ‘Demon Girl’ the production is unusual but great, it conjures up feelings of nostalgia that match the lyrics “I took your king off his throne but I adopted his vices” from the disappointingly brief ‘Demon Girl‘. The track ‘Black Rose’ seems oddly out of place, it’s not a bad track but it’s a happier, more upbeat song that goes against the depressive mood set by the rest of the album.

Remember that ear-cutting scene in ‘Reservoir Dogs’? After the movie you would’ve sworn that it was a very graphic, violent scene but in reality, nothing is actually shown, it’s just the mood that is set and the sounds of a screaming man that make it seem that way. Rebel Yellow plays out in similar fashion, it seems that Cecil Otter bares his soul and tells you his life story but it’s done in such a cryptic manner where nothing is specifically said. The somber mood that is set makes it seem like Otter is an open book when in fact many things are open to different interpretations. Sometimes, things are better left to the imagination.

Recommended tracks:
Traveling Dunktank
Box Car Diaries
Match Book Diaries (remix)



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user ratings (62)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album really struck a chord with me, I'm loving it

Bulldog
April 29th 2010



3796 Comments


i got muh proofs

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2010



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Must find this

Good review as always Sombs

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Must find this"

yes, you must


Twelvetribes230
April 29th 2010



102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this CD. I like the organic sound to it with the drumming as a replacment to "beats". The lyrics are impressive and his rapping style is not over the top or obnoxious like some rappers.

Inveigh
April 29th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah man I remember pre-ordering this shit like 2 months in advance haha bc I could never get my hands on the 2006 copy. I like every track on the album, it's like a weird mix of westerny-folk with Aesop/Slug/Sage style lyrics.

Let Me Tell You is just deep as fuck (although I think I might like the version on Doomtree s/t a little more..). Great review, pos'd.

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis

somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"his rapping style is not over the top or obnoxious like some rappers"

it's simple and easy to understand, a major strong point of this album

@Inveigh I wish I knew what he was talking about!

Inveigh
April 29th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my interpretation is that it's the outlaw, western-folk version of the metaphor guys like Ghostface and Raekwon do with the drug dealing in a way (Ghostface more so, where a lot of people think when he's talking about dealing coke on Fishscale he's using it as a metaphor for how he treats his music -- like drug dealing). But instead, Cecil (or the traveling artist/musician in general) is more like a classic outlaw drifter. He begins making his money telling stories that are deeply personal (I think his metaphor for that is like either a war vet or an outlaw, tough to tell), but he's drifting away from everything that defined him and has completely lost touch with himself, now nothing more than a nomad. I wish I could explain it better...

edit: sorry for the long post that's coming...

Inveigh
April 29th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pedal the medal
The medals of honor pierce his chest
Kettle the kettle man
His heart is black, it bleeds for death
To all the rebels
Living off the laws that fear suggests
He appears a mess, but there's this message
He's the code
And he's the envy of the unknowing
But all willing to picture it all perfect
He talks into this mic with nothing in mind
The image is not worth it
No worship in his blood or curses worth believing in
He's up and he's leaving a love for no reason, now
He's making his rounds
He pounds his chest and hits the street
He's bad to the bone with bad bones
But he don't admit defeat
Visits the meatcooler
And inherently speak through a
Well oiled machine of a heart and it don't back off
Comes from a back log of lost and tough luck
He's completely punch drunk and too exhausted to touch love
But it's kept tucked away with a new, fade-proof innocence
That's underage and overpaid attention to
And since he's destined to
Live without a destiny to rest into
He'll just search for recipies
From enteries to exit wounds
Sets the mood, shine down
Writes another victim's tune
And washes the blood from his hands
With drips until his fingers prune


somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well that's a good explanation but like I said, nothing is specifically said and it's open to interpretation

Inveigh
April 29th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea it definitely is. much in the same way with Aesop.. that's part of the fun of those guys though, I feel like I hear something new each time I listen to it, sometimes even years later.

somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this album really blew my mind and I think that depending on your mindset, you can interpret the same song in a different way

Blindsided
April 29th 2010



1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes.
I was going to review this way back but I got lazy.

Digging: Exit_International - Our Science Is Golden

Inveigh
April 29th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

depending on your mindset, you can interpret the same song in a different way

yep.

somberlain
April 29th 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

his lyrics are kinda abstract and your imagination just wanders thinking of what he might be talking about

Skimaskcheck
April 30th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album, title track is my favourite

BigHans
April 30th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I figured this would be an Inveigh Review ;). Is the lyric "I'm Cecil Fucking Otter not Dylan goes Electric" on this album?

Inveigh
April 30th 2010



24196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yep, it's in Black Rose. Love that song, one of the few truly "fun" songs on the cd, along with Traveling Dunk Tank.

somberlain
May 3rd 2010



2121 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I figured this would be an Inveigh Review"

I expected him to review it but I can't wait on him forever ;)

Counterfeit
September 1st 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

k. ready for page 2



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