Beyond The GatesHip-Hop / rap music has never featured all that highly on my list of musical loves. I have always had a particular dislike of the lumpen music and the bragging, shallow nature of the lyrics. I really don’t give a shit if you are drinking Cristal champagne whilst wearing your boxfresh Nike Air Max’s, getting blown by your latest “hoe” and playing with your 9mm semi-automatic. Nothing relevant, big or clever in that.

However, when done with intelligence, wit, literacy and musicality, rapping, spoken word and poetry can make for powerful, educational and enlightening music. This lesson I learnt the first time I encountered Gil Scott-Heron’s searing The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and has continued through to more recent times listening to the likes of Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. And to this illustrious but exclusive list I can now add Bristol collective Triangulators.

Shaped around the poetic words of Felix Rey, this four track EP manages to cram in lyrical reference to Philip K Dick, Tolkien, Ancient Greek mythology, William Blake, different realities, futurology, politics, ecology and positive thinking. The music is as expansive, with hip-hop beats behind electronica, progressive rock music and acoustica rubbing shoulders with dance music and jazz, and a hat full of clever ideas, neat melodies and psychedelic musical landscapes and back-drops.

This is one of those records you can lose yourself in for a time, as the joy Rey takes from language catches you. You luxuriate in the coherence and intelligence of his verse, following along as it hooks into the music to take you on a twisting path through ideas, philosophies and opinion in an enlightening and expansive trip. This lyrical connection with the music is remarkable, raising this EP to higher levels than most of the detached offerings that pass for hip-hop and musical spoken word these days. Add this to some crystal clear, intelligent and creative production and you have a pretty special collection that stays just the right side of disappearing up its own black hole.

Beyond The Gates is out now on Omniphonic Records

Watch the video for The Minotaur Is In the Labyrinth here:

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