Friday, 8 August 2008

CD Review: God Complex

Review by Steve Dean

God Complex is Andy a.k.a. Breo and Steve Harvey a.k.a. DJ Fresh. Given that Steve usually reviews the hip hop scene for Stoke Sounds, it really wouldn’t be entirely appropriate for him to review his own CD, so although I’m no expert on this genre, here is a hip hop review from an interested layman’s point of view.

Some beautifully atmospheric piano forms most of the accompaniment to Steve’s sincerely spoken vocals on first track ‘Grey Clouds’. Sublimely setting the mood, the ambience conjured up flows seamlessly into the next number, an instrumental entitled ‘Can’t be thrown away’. Tinged with shades of melancholia, this composition, to me at least, shows that electronic music can stimulate the emotions just as effectively as any acoustic instrument. As a young(ish) form of music, hip hop faces much prejudice from self-supposed purists who care not to even grant a listen to such works. Nonsensical really, when one considers that hip hop is actually thoughtful prose and poetry set to music. These young and not-so-young performers tell of how life is for them and their triumphs and sometimes bitter angst in dealing with it. Didn’t Blake and Byron write of such love and torment in their time? …and their stuff wasn’t even set to music.

Track three, ‘Razors’ is a little different in that it incorporates hauntingly sung lyrics with spoken ones, telling of personal demons visiting in the dead of night. The relentless beat throughout eventually leads us to a distant thunderstorm before fading to nothing, a neat and very effective idea.

More upbeat, the last instrumental track ‘Keep the World Away’ put me in mind of 70s/80s disco music in the vein of Donna Summer and Bronski Beat; only lacking the gloss and much more ambient; a common hallmark of this genre.

Although hip hop is often written off as music and singing at its most basic form, it is only truly limited by the writers and performers’ imagination, both musically and lyrically. Just as much can be achieved with this form of music as can be by any other, and it is giving voice, musically and otherwise, to those who would normally have none. It draws the creative heart from deep within even the most unlikely of persons. Pretty great stuff, really.

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