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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 119 - 06/11/06

Alias & Tarsier
Brookland/Oaklyn
Anticon

This is the first time I've seen Tarsier's name, but from the sound of her voice surely she's been doing great things. Thanks goes to Alias for shining a little more light on her beauty. Song 1, "Cub", begins with light drums and a very pretty piano part. Her voice enters after 30 seconds. I'm listening for a strong melody; a strong 1-note bassline enters at the 50 second mark. And then the song's off. The melody is elusive, but not bad. It is gutsy to place such a tricky song first. It makes you really want to hear to keep going, which is a great thing.

We continue with "Rising Sun". The melody again is fairly slow moving and quite unsingalongable. The drums that enter at the 1:07 mark are big and catching. There is a certain sense of immediacy that I can feel coming through tiny metaphorical cracks in Tarsier's voice. It is these feelings that truly make me like this, my subjective prejudice towards enjoying Anticon aside. Indeed this is shaping up to be a great album.

The first really great song comes next, however. I first heard it up at Mark's. The feeling was so sad and hopeful. This song is the first to reach the depths of darkness that Brookland/Oaklyn promises. When Alias starts raping, all the backgrounds dropping out, there is an understanding that is reached. I'd rather stay in on a Friday night with this and listen sober than go out and get drunk. Perhaps that seems a shallow way of describing "Last Nail"'s power. It is a beautiful song.

Guitar greets us in "Dr. C". A melody with an emphasis on the 9th and 7th scale degrees is here. These scale degrees always seem to get to me. And this melody is a little more singalongable than any that have yet presented themselves, although it would take many listens. The apparent elusiveness of Tarsier's melodies is proving quite brave to me. "Keep your secret, brother, forever. Night begins to blow up. You're surrounded".

Another very dark colored song is next. "Anon" has strong Anticon drums and a very stygian background. This song is unable however to reach the despair of the 1-2 punch that was "Last Nail" and "Dr. C". But I will not say that this hampers the blooming and growing of the album. The sequencing in fact is very sensible; it allows the album to move and be fluid.

Funeral-esque strings introduce "5 Year Eve". "I will not hate you, but I'll soon wear you down", she says. Another slow and challenging song, but very good. It really opens up more than any other song so far; this happens at the 3 minute mark. "Plane the Draws a White Line" seems closer to a pop song than any other so far, giving me a little more of what I deep-down want. This need for pop sensibility is purely subjective and personal however, and I cannot criticize this album for not totally fulfilling it for me. "Luck and Fear" is next. Doseone turns up on this track. His voice is good to hear. This is an historic song for hosting by far the best speed-rap I've heard this year, or in a long time - probably since Busta Rhymes' Anarchy. There is a certain experimental flare to the form of this song as well, making it perhaps the most unique song on Brookland/Oaklyn. "I am a kite" she repeats at the end of this great song.

The album winds down with "Picking the Same Lock" and "Ligaya". You can hear the first sampled vinyl scratches here, a sound that has become sort of signature to many Anticon releases. It is a nice touch. There is a real sense of caring in this song, it seems to leak through more hear than anywhere on the album. Alias' drums, that are certainly signature and perhaps the most tightly wound tapestry of this album, enter strongly yet again. "Ligaya" proves to be an epic conclusion to an epic and challenging listen.

Kudos to Anticon, Alias, Doseone, and not the least of which Ms. Tarsier for a brave and meaningful new record.

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