Review Summary: No starving artists, just artists starving to know.
A music artist's growth- their trials, their successes, their failures, and everything else- is refracted into bite-sized chunks of self in the form of songs. These are prodded and tinkered with for an indeterminable amount of time, recorded, and then propelled at the masses in a state that might not necessarily be complete, but hopefully roughly represents who they are or where they're at. Good people- not just artists- grow. Personalities aren't stagnant. A stagnant person is always in need of change. Where is the zeitgeist? Here it is, dangling before your eyes, almost within reach, orange and phallic, bobbing with your every step.
Being a freelance explorer of physical dangers, the artist gains a certain license to behave differently.
Personality and art initally struck me as separate entities, but last decade I learned. I watched Tyler, the Creator bloom, exhibiting a shameless, truthful, proud, fully-realised existence. I watched Earl Sweatshirt- a reclusive-seeming personality, more possum than headlight in his relationship with media coverage- take agency back not just through his music, but by having an open discussion with his mother (a character much maligned by early Earl fans) about race-relations in modern America. I've seen Taylor Swift's PR team witness and appropriate (I bet you think I'm going to say African-American culture) integrity and sincerity into some stirring copy, even if I still hold a hefty grudge against her for disturbing the existence of a small population of dotterel at Te Henga. I've seen Kendrick Lamar raking in grands and accolades, his most confrontational material spearheading a cultural movement. I've seen JPEGMAFIA unapologetically laying out his life before us, wielding hard-earned truths like weapons, revealing that power presents itself when you throw concern to the wayside. I've seen El-P and Killer Mike lifted out from the underground, a reward for dropping all pretense and going straight for the throat. I've seen Aesop Rock garner significant attention on a release wherein his cat and his psychiatrist are prominent touchstones. I've also seen apathy and listlessness spawn entire genres. I've also seen Eminem- in what feels like one of many last-ditch efforts- call Tyler, the Creator a faggot in a cultural environment where it's suddenly cool to care. Marshall Mathers' withered old fingers couldn't find a pulse if he was apprentice to a thoracic surgeon. He's weathered; tethered to the idea that ability trumps artistry, that controversy is content, that he still has a throne to protect.
Out the barrel, into the skillet.
In shuffles the Corduroy Coon Prince, subtle jazz hands leading the way, clicking on the off-beats, and- I swear to God- a beret on his head. The band that's introduced is not a band. Kenny Segal is a void peeker, renowned in wide-reaching, concentric, eccentric circles for dropping desks rhythmically and grilling pineapples. Mr. Mike Parvizi, of the golden thumb, pluck[s] poetics from the air as he struts down basslines with nimble awareness; a crossing guard smoking on the job. Mr. Aaron Carmack, head on a swivel, profane keeper of the bop, master of sonic delights, transistor and transmutator, exuding elegance like freedom is the last introduced before we're given a gristly thesis statement to chew on.
This transmission is addressed to the fence-building nihilists. Your soul writes, “Come home. Abandon them outdated strategies, namely hatred. Exile is no place for a person, or your compassion. Come home.”
Isn't this that kid that made an album about post-modernism and Manichaean dualism in Dragonball Z or something? Well, shi
t. I guess it is. Get this: he's progressed. Right beneath those two watchful ears of yours.
See how the cover says RHYTHM & POETRY
on it? Naysayers, word-haters, and particularly un-hep cats will drape “pretentious” over Purple Moonlight Pages
like so much honey, letting it sink into every groove of the wax before they've even dropped the needle. Why mince words? Fu
Allow me to be real with you: Rory Ferreira's work up until now has held passing interest for me on account of being clever, on carving his on niche, and the underlying passion that has laced it all, but Purple Moonlight Pages
represents his first release (to my ears) where his wry observations actually stack up to constructive insight, where his awareness of what he brings to hip-hop at large reaps dividends in the form of not only verbose braggadocio, but also a kind of divine simplicity; the man who repeats "I want to behold magnificence" like a mantra isn't above making a song about doing laundry while humming to his son, who's staring with his wide ol' eyes. This is not a cold, distanced artist at work, but a warm, contented personality.
Happy? You should be.