Akumu. (Noun.) The Japanese word for a nightmare.

With a title like that, we, the listener, are forewarned of the subject matter and themes Calsocold explores on his latest album. And while we are looking at the deeper seated meanings behind the titles found here, let’s start with one of the lead tracks, Weltschmerz which is defined as a “feeling of melancholy or despair caused by the disparity between the way the world is and the way one wishes it to be.” Here we find a particularly bruised and brooding vibe, one of claustrophobic intensity defining the song. Hip-hop and rap fuelled it may be, but it is also a track with dark and delicious gothic undercurrents. Goth-rap? Why not.

But it is Lit! featuring Mxzily, which is the song you are probably already familiar with; it has done the rounds to commercial and critical success, and what a superb blend of groove and grit it is. But it is not the familiar that we are here to explore but the fresh and with 15 brand new tracks to his name, Calsocold shows us what is happening at the cutting edge of urban music.

Glitch! blends dark, swirling, spacious atmospherics, depth-charge bass beats, and doom-laden dark musical domains. All Talk!/Stop It! is a skittering sonic trap-beat-driven groovesome slice. And WWYD! is as neat a slice of urban angst and street-level philosophizing as you will find in the contemporary music world.

And all these tracks gain their weight and intensity through the production process they are created through. Auto tuning used to be seen as a tool to fix problems, hear it is used as an enhancement to take the vocals to new heights. And it is a process that runs through all of the creative processes found on the album. The studio and the production process are just as much an instrument or sound palette as any of the more analogue instruments or traditional ways of working.

Akumu might mean nightmare, but it is also the sound of a glorious, if somewhat shaded and shattered, new future for the genre.

Previous articlePremiere: Lovescope – Sir-Vere (reviewed by Darren Baker)
Next articleIt’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World! A quick chat with Chris Spenser of UNSANE
Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.

Leave a Reply