Review – Raceless – The Internal Meddler
Curse Ov Dialect is one of the great Australian artistic ideas to come along in my lifetime. Such a perfect match to take hip hop’s cultural collage and apply it to multicultural Australia. Not only is it the perfect forum for expressing the issues of modern Australia through rhyme and sample, but it also offers up the world’s ancient dance musics to be sliced together as the backing.
The fact that the band have always been so imaginative within this world they have created is the real magic. I remember seeing a set of theirs during the last week of smoking in Victorian pubs where they brought out a hookah and invited people to sit around in a circle on stage and smoke from it. Like all their work, you can either take it as absurdist spectacle or political comment, but their ability to achieve both at once is their rare genius.
The Internal Meddler is the first EP from Curse Ov Dialect’s MC Raceless and it doesn’t take a wild step out of this world. But why would you? It’s actually an opportunity to dive down deeper within what Raceless brings to the group.
At a point in history where artists seem to have been scared away from the legal minefield of record sampling, it is great to hear a recording made up of crackling shards of found sounds. Perhaps the clips here are so far off the western and copyright map that no one is concerned. Whatever the case, it is excellent that a grab bag of hissy and pop filled musical bars can be still be heard used in this way.
Raceless has a knack for squeezing soul and life into some pretty austere folk warbling. In particular the way he fashions an “Ooohoohhoohh” or “Eeeey-eey” into a mobius strip melody line that is unlike anything the voice would normally make on of its accord. There are times where the looping starts to get a bet glaring to my ears. Like I’ve take one to many trips around a particular merry-go-round of sounds and I’m starting to get my bearings. But, for the most part, you are at the will of the high seas Raceless has launched us upon.
The major tracks like ‘Saliva Ov Arts’ and ‘Watchagunnado’ rely on circus polka rhythms for their drive, something that has been a bit of calling card across the Curse OV Dialect cannon. Samples chime in with horror atmospherics, steel string folk twangs and stretched out choral and string drones. The rhyming follows a similar pattern. Raceless bashes away on the continuous spool of typewriter paper, with lyrics falling around an idea. After building up the atmospherics he’ll occasionally rest on a touchstone sentence to provide the emotional king hit and full stop. “No choice…to do what I do” in ‘Saliva Ov Arts’, “Grow stronger, I love you” in ‘Pretty Lady’ and “Why the anger, Sir? Why dont they get there life together?” in ‘Australiod Vs. Caucasoid’.
The latter is the absolute stand out from the EP. There is a real surprising beauty in the sample “I say that its about time we let world know. Let the world know what’s going on!”. As much as many might want to suppress the high mid range, skronky sounding Strayn accent for the purposes of music, Raceless puts it to its best use. I’ve heard it hypothesised that we developed the ‘crow saying “fark” sound’ in our voices as a reaction to our environment at the time of European arrival. To allow voices to carry across a noisy pub and to bounce across a wide and oppressive landscape. This is exactly why it is way more suited to hip hop than the muffled, mouth-breathing, groans that most Australian examples of the form seem to rely upon. Bon Scott and Angry Anderson new this, I reckon, and it fine thing to hear it celebrated within hip hop.
The Internal Meddler is available free of charge from the Curse Ov Dialect bandcamp.