• “The Wind That Blows As Mountains Flow [radio edit]” set to a picture of the housing album cover.
“Fantastic Hip Hop / Rap from the USA”
An excerpt from the single-track album “The Wind That Blows As Mountains Flow” released in October, 2017.
As with the majority of the tracks that I pick up from my Dandelion listening, this is my very first collection entry for Yea Big (Stefen Robinson), even though the Bloomington-based multi-instrumentalist and rapper has been putting out records since 2005. He also plays mandolin in the free-jazz group Disorganizer, but I won’t hold it against him.
It’s rap Jim, but not as we know it, decidedly leftfield, cerebral caustic and progressive, very much putting me in mind of TV on the Radio, musically, lyrically and politically. Robinson describes the piece as:
“a meditation on the Buddhist notion of emptiness and the necessity for radical social movements, past and present… I would rather live in a world where I didn’t have to be part of an activist community… I would like for that to be unnecessary”
I was faced with a bit of a dilemma in choosing the main track to be featured – to go with the 4 minute radio edit (complete with lame profanity obfuscation) or the full THIRTY minute drama? In the end, I’ve opted for the former, theorizing that if anyone’s intrigued by the shop window display they’ll step inside for a proper look. The full version is embedded below for your convenience.
There’s a great feature at WGLT who describe it astutely as: “A sonata in 3 movements using Free Jazz / Ambient Music / Avant-Garde Rock as a musical base to rap about the interconnectedness of life — and the need for darn near anarchy”.
The label (Metal Postcard) had this to say:
Comes at you like a 21st century audio re-interpretation of those great American mid century greats Ginsberg, Terkel & Guthrie. Robinson doesn’t pander to your usual indie hip hop concerns but states clearly where his country is now and isn’t scared to be honest with time worn American musical traditions interweaving them back and forth throughout the piece, hip hop, blues, bluegrass, jazz & indie all share a space in this track.
In the full-length version, I picked up that our man wants to live in a world where Chomsky is more influential than the bible. Whilst there may be very little chance of cracking the Billboard charts with that message, it’s a noble dream all the same!
Heard on Sean Hocking’s November 2017 show on Dandelion Radio.
Get it at Bandcamp.