Music News

The Abstract Collective

It's clear from opener "Artist's Way" that the new release from local hip-hoppers the Abstract Collective is more organic than electronic. The rapping, meanwhile, blends the rapid-fire delivery favored by Anticon artists — particularly Yoni Wolf — with the more R&B/jazz-inflected instincts of Blackalicious. Despite the soothing effect of Cody Schlueter's vibraphones, there is something urgent and hard about Ari Max Wechsler's vocals. It's as though he were sketching in stark yet vivid imagery — very high-contrast and dynamic. "Lessons" reveals some grounding in poetic structural experiments, even as the rapping accelerates to its full pace. "Silly Jizms" introduces a grittier and darker tone to an already socially critical album, and "Never Settle" provides a caustic summation of the album's theme.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.