The Constructus Corporation
The Ziggurat


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tristan Jones USER (27 Reviews)
August 12th, 2014 | 8 replies | 441 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Ziggurat is a rich concept album featuring some of the best beats to come out of South Africa, and a lush overarching storyline that showcases Waddy Jones at his creative paramount.

The Constructus Corporation was a trip-hop project featuring current members of Die Antwoord alongside DJ Sibot and electronic producers Felix Laband and Markus Wormstorm. While The Constructus Corporation may have featured members of Die Antwoord, it was hardly similar to the polarizing rave group. The Ziggurat is a rich concept album featuring some of the best beats to come out of South Africa, and a lush overarching storyline that showcases Waddy Jones at his creative paramount.

The album begins with a narrator doing his best Mr. Miyagi-meets-Yoda vocal caricature, and explains that The Ziggurat is a massive floating structure housing a self-sufficient society. The intro is one of several skits that, while skippable, are important for setting the overall tone and understanding the album's concepts. The Ziggurat follows two kids -- Random Boy and Kid Tronic -- living in the futuristic society, the former of which strives to become The Ziggurat's biggest MC, while the latter serves as his cyborg companion. The album also features "Rick Flare", ahem, 'self-made millionaire' who, despite his eccentric investments, has found the time to enlighten the people of The Ziggurat with tips on "How to Become a Better Person". Waddy Jones voices all the male characters on the album, and there are quite a few. All of the characters are planned out carefully, featuring unique flows and their own idiosyncratic lyrics.

The Ziggurat is one of few hip-hop albums I've heard that manages to be consistently tight, both in lyrics and production, yet still manage to suffer under the weight of its own creativity. It's as though Waddy Jones & co. knew their project was doomed to be short-lived, and saw fit to cram The Ziggurat with every idea they could muster. The upside is an album that boasts interesting lyricism, unique beats and varied themes. The downside is an album that often strays to far from its intended concept, slightly dampening the impact. There are several tracks that are presented under the guise of Random Boy and Kid Tronic's 'virtual reality', but are really just filler tracks, though I am using the term 'filler' a bit indiscriminately. Some of the tracks that have no apparent connection to the storyline happen to be the most infectious tracks on the entire album, boasting the most creative beats and memorable hooks. "Jellyfish" falls close to the midpoint of the album and, while not possessing any relation to the story, at least by a surface level interpretation, shows Jones inserting his own personalized underlying messages. Jones mocks blind consumerism, and pokes fun at how a society living in the year 2200, despite considerable advancement in technology, has the majority of the population 'walking around without a clue'. "Invisible Sentinels" includes a verse where Jones states '[modern hip-hop's] hard-core tactics are out-dated and jaded'. In fact, given the number of Jones's cynical quips, The Ziggurat could be considered allegorical, as though members of The Constructus Corporation saw the album as an opportunity to denounce various things they consider ultimately harmful to the world. Despite some of Waddy's lyrics bordering on pseudo-intellectual territory, they never prevent the album being fun at its core, and are consistently imaginative.

While The Ziggurat isn't the first hip-hop album to include themes of science fiction, I find myself at a loss thinking of a trip-hop album that predates this containing sci-fi story elements. By that definition, The Ziggurat is truly an interesting piece, and an essential listen for fans of trip-hop and conceptual hip-hop alike.



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 11th 2014


690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

didn't bother touching on the 2nd disc stuff as I'm gonna assume most people probably can't get ahold of it, but who knows. It's basically just instrumentals and shit... pretty good and worth a listen, but disc 1 is the important stuff

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Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2014


5757 Comments


Really great review man, pos'd. My only criticism with it is that the part where you talk about the album having filler is pretty scathing for a 4.5 review. Still, this was a very nice read overall, and I liked the length of this review as well!

Digging: Moonsorrow - V: Havitetty

Typhoner
August 12th 2014


849 Comments


I've been going through Waddy's different projects and although I generally like his work, it's usually the conceptual nature I dig most (but each release has a few great songs). That being said, I haven't listened to this yet.

Nice work on the review. It seems to be a pretty accurate description for most of his work imo.

Digging: Banks - Goddess

JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 12th 2014


690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@Judio! - yeah but I felt it needed to be said, plus I kinda justified it in the following sentences... I say that I use the term filler indiscriminately, since these tracks are only 'filler' in that they sidestep from the story more then they probably should, but are still strong tracks in their own right

jefflebowski
August 12th 2014


8242 Comments


excellent review but reads more like a 4

this is by far the best thing jones has done IMO

Digging: Brian Eno and Karl Hyde - High Life

JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 12th 2014


690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@jeff - yeah, maybe I spend a bit too much time criticizing the album for being a bit overlong, but w/e. I'm still content with the
rating.
edit: actually, screw it you're right. I'm being too biased if I don't knock the rating down a bit

thelastsignal
August 12th 2014


1368 Comments


Nice work man, pos'd.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 12th 2014


690 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks sig



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