Album Reviews

Louchiano Childs

Louchiano: Audio Crack


By: Keri Carpenter

When you listen to rap and hip-hop, are you listening to the beats and rhythms or the actual words? In addition to hip-hop being dead (as Nas informed us recently), I was beginning to think that rap might be buried next to today’s hip-hop in the cemetery of embarrassment. However, after listening to a CD entitled Louchiano: Audio Crack, I am pleased to inform you that rap is still alive. However, the most intriguing thing about this CD is that it was produced by a student on the U of I campus.

The artist is Louchiano Childs. Childs, a junior in advertising, delivers unique beats in this CD that will definitely keep you moving in the car, on the way to class or in your room while you’re cleaning up. However, I must warn you that a lot of the lyrics have double meanings and if you’re not careful you could get lost in translation.

I found myself (and I should mention that I’m not a terribly devoted listener of rap) rewinding the CD numerous times in order to really catch the meaning of the tracks. However, when my older brother – the ultimate translator of all things rap – listened to the CD, he instantly decoded all the hidden messages, witty metaphors and twofold phrases and explained some things to me that I’m still amazed by.

Covering everything from “haters” and pride to struggles, life lessons and accomplishments, Child’s talent shines through his clear understanding of how to twist and use metaphors, similes, oxymorons and other tools of language in his favor. While there was some vulgarity present in the CD, each word seemed to have a specific purpose.

After listening to this CD, I have a better appreciation for the art of rap. Whether you’re a fan of rap or not, you’ll appreciate Child’s work of art and have a lot of “a-ha” moments. You’ll be proud of yourself when you decipher some of the Louchi-codes, and even if you don’t catch them all, you’ll be too busy jamming to his mesmerizing beats to care too much. Remember this guy’s name because you’ll be hearing it a lot more throughout his mission to keep rap alive.

Of Montreal

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?


By: Andy Glaysher

Of Montreal have been known to liken themselves to The Beach Boys, and after listening to Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?,it’s easy to see why: Kevin Barnes is the second coming of Brian Wilson. His enviable ability to write catchy pop songs that retain distinctiveness through their gloomy subtext is something seen in very few songwriters today. Furthermore, he has an ear for composing complex vocal arrangements that rival even some of Queen’s most epic masterpieces such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “March of the Black Queen.” What really makes Barnes a genius is his aptness to manipulate every fiber of a recording studio so that the resulting sound is something dense, beautiful, unusual, bewitching and, above all, sonically unique. Fluttering from the speakers, his spirited voice sounds like
a songbird at one moment, and a swelling gospel choir two seconds later. The music itself is just as dynamic, sending my iTunes visualizer into overdrive with its frequent and unexpected shifts in tempos, rhythms and textures.

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, although not as catchy as 2005’s The Sunlandic Twins, is just as, if not more satisfying than its predecessor. It’s a much more personal album, lending itself to listener empathy and narrowed interpretations. Barnes admits that it was written and recorded throughout one of the darkest periods of his life – a time characterized by extreme depression and anxiety. This is portrayed musically within the first half of the album on songs like “Cato as a Pun,” “Gronlandic Edit,” and “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” in which Barnes laments, “I spent the winter on the verge of total breakdown while living in Norway/I felt the darkness of the black metal bands.” Concluding with “The Past is a Grotesque Animal,” the first half of the album dissolves into a soulful five-song set that marks a turning point in the album. It is here, in the second half, that both the music and the lyrics elevate from a state of melancholy to a state of defiance and resilience.

Within the 12-song pop jungle that is Hissing Fauna, every human emotion is exposed in one way or another, and that’s ultimately what makes of Montreal so accessible. Even the album artwork, conceived by Barnes’ brother, David, is supposed to represent the six moods that he experienced while listening to it.

Although the music can be too pretentious for its own good at times, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? is an album that will undoubtedly drop jaws for many years to come.

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