Black Dice

Broken Ear Record

Blood on the Wall


Various Artists:

Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets the Ind
ie Culture


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Dreddy Krueger Presents...Think Differently Music: Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture

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So the mighty Wu is finally back at it again!? Almost...

Think Differently Music: Wu Tang Meets Indie Culture, as its title implies, partners Clan members with underground hip hop stars. The Wu Tang part of the equation only includes three clansmen: RZA, GZA, and U-God. As for “indie culture,” names such as MF Doom, Vast Aire, Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Aesop Rock, J. Live and RA the Rugged Man appear. While this isn’t technically a full-fledged Wu Tang effort, the hard soul grooves, syncopated piano loops, melodramatic horn and string riffs, and dashes of hallucinogenic weirdness of Bronze Nazareth’s post-post-modern production style gives the collection a feeling which can best be described as – Wu-ey.

While he only gets in the frey for one song, “Biochemical Equation,” with MF Doom, RZA proves once again that he is the king of assembling tracks that are powerful, creative, and danceable at the same time. Based on a Shafty string loop and a hard funk rhythmic hook, the strings open up, the beat changes, guitar solos come in and out, and psychedelic phasing takes over as MF Doom, in his struggle with the devil, gets pulled over drunk with a gun under his seat and does his best to keep his composure. The dazzling masterpiece that alone makes the whole thing worth it.

While I single out the incomparable RZA, I hope I don’t give off the impression that Bronze Nazareth’s production isn’t also impressive – as a number of tracks stand out. The opener and second-best track, “Lyrical Swords,” is a battle between GZA and Ras Kas over a choppy militant Baby Huey “Hard Times”-style rhythm. “Slow Blues,” featuring Vast Aire, Timbo King, Prodigal Sunn, and Byata, does amazing things with an urban blues guitar wank and B3. The rhymes of Byata and Cannibal Ox’s Vast emerge as some of the best on the record. Other prime cuts are Aesop Rock & Del The Funky Homosapien “Preservation,” Bronze Nazareth, Solomon Childs, and Byata’s “Street Corners,” La The Darkman, Scaramanga, Shallah, Ras Kass, and GZA’s “Verses,” and Casual, Rock Marciano, Vordual Mega, & Tragedy Khadafi’s“Think Differently.”

There’re also a couple of “infomercials” with America’s finest filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch, quoting Bach, talking about music creating order out of disorder, and other generalities – in general, making me wonder why he’s here. The subject of the recently departed ODB also awkwardly pops up and is trivially dealt with both in shout-outs and in DJ Noize’s “ODB Tribute.”

Though the better tracks are as good as it gets, Think Differently is long and patchy – confirming my opinion that the recent obsession with CD length is totally bogus. This would have made an slammin' thirty-five to forty minute record. Furthermore, it makes me hunger for another full-fledged Wu-Tang effort. Though a coin toss for the generalist, Think Differently is a must for hardcore fans of the Wu-Tang Clan and the impressive cast of artists involved.



© New York Night Train , 2005