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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 216 - 04/15/14

Asthmatic Kitty Records/Joyful Noise Recordings

"In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth) punished for chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever." (Wikipedia)

The Sisyphus collaboration troika have just put out their self-titled full-length debut album, following their Beak & Claw EP (on the Anticon label) of 2012. Sisyphus (formerly S/S/S) are hip-hop artist Serengeti (A.K.A. David Cohn), post-rock/alternative hip hop musician Son Lux (A.K.A. Ryan Lott), and (to quote The Guardian) "orchestral indie prophet" Sufjan Stevens. Their project is said to be "...partly inspired by the art of [New York-based installation artist] Jim Hodges, and commissioned by the Walker Art Center and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Liquid Music series in Minneapolis/Saint Paul" (according to Sisyphus' Bandcamp site). These three talents gathered shows "...the pugilistic flow of rapper Serengeti, the gently crooned come-ons of singer Sufjan Stevens' hooks, and the heavy beats of producer Son Lux, all interwoven into an intimate collaboration" (Asthmatic Kitty).

Sisyphus has both ups and downs, within its rap rhyme-rhythmic and pop melodic flow. It is both a cool and smart album, as well as being playful, catchy and witty. It is also a bit cheesy sounding sometimes, maybe on purpose. Some songs are clearly more collaborate works than others, such as "Calm It Down", "Hardly Hanging On", and "My Oh My", while "Rhythm of Devotion" seems to be one of the key-tracks, leaning on the funkier, hip-hop side. The indeed fine "I Won't Be Afraid" is one of the more 'Sufjan flavoured' tracks. To conclude, I find the album a bit schizophrenic. Yes, it's got some fine moments, but here are some of sloppy moments as well. The album is a bit too long - it should have been trimmed down. Maybe a couple of tracks less, and maybe some tighter grips in the production room and on the arrangement side. Yet, it is still a cool record. It should have been a bit crazy as well.

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