Alright, we’re back to weekly music reviews!
I have a pretty big list of albums I want to review in the coming weeks, but I’ve just got to start with a release from one of our very own writers - Martin Boehme! (check out his archive if you haven’t read his stuff yet)
You may not know it, but aside from being a writer, Martin is also a rapper and a linguist. Both of those talents are utilized on his first rap EP, The Gloom.
Note: I originally posted this review up on SputnikMusic. I felt that it should be posted here too, because Martin’s new album is awesome.
The rise of the internet has done so much to break down stereotypes in music. When I was a kid, the fact that a prominent rapper like Eminem was a white guy was seen as somewhat of an oddity. Now, something like that seems like no big deal – people of all different races, ages, and cities are making and sharing music with the world, all thanks to miles of Cat5 and routers.
Due to this phenomenon, you may not be surprised that a white college kid who’s never been outside of Iowa and Nebraska can release a rap EP that seamlessly blends English and Spanish lyrics and flows better than what many east and west coast rappers have to offer. It certainly doesn’t surprise me. It does, however, keep me coming back for repeated listens.
The Gloom EP opens with “Sunlight”, a short track that showcases the blend of English and Spanish lyrics I mentioned earlier. The song also features a very minimalistic beat comprised of nothing but few happy piano chords and a minimal drum kick. It’s happy and serene at the same time; a perfect way to open an album or start a morning.
“Hello World” is up next, and it is my personal favorite track on the album. The beat sounds almost like something Anamanaguchi would come up with – it’s partly comprised by what sounds like circuit bending on a NES, and backed by moody keyboards that give the track an ethereal feel. This song also showcases Martin’s lyrical flow at its best.
“El Miedo a las Arañas” is the album’s only track featuring all Spanish lyrics. As someone who doesn’t speak Spanish very well, I can’t comment on the lyrics themselves (though I know the title means “The Fear of Spiders”) – however, Martin’s flow doesn’t suffer with the transition to another language.
“Echoes” and “Here I Go” are both solid tracks, but they’re a bit less memorable than the first three and the album’s closer. However, “Here I Go” definitely gets points for having a Spartacus reference.
“The Gloom” rounds out the album. Whereas “Sunlight” opened the album like the sun rising on a new day, this track makes you feel like you’re walking around a city at night with its dark, moody tone. The track’s title is a good descriptor for its feel. However, the lyrics evoke determination and a want for something more, making it become a motivating track. The reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender definitely nets it points in my book as well.
Overall, this is a great first effort for Martin Boehme. With lyrical flow that brings to mind a more mature artist and lyrics that blend two languages, this is an EP that any fan of “smarter” rap should check out. While the production isn’t perfect, you can definitely tell there’s a ton of potential here.