Revelling in the past is all very well and good but the best music, or at least the most original and forward-thinking of creations, seem to be made by people looking to where everything goes next rathe than where it has already been. It’s all about evolution, it’s about moving the sonic baton onwards. This is important, necessary, vial even. This is the way the world turns. Dusky is the sound of the world turning and music moving into pastures new.
The fantastically named Johhny Casino, a cool name, half sonic gunslinger, half 50’s pool hall hustler, pulls together various urban strands, skittering and glitchy beats, hip-hop rhythms, dexterous rap flows and strange, electro-grooves and musical motifs, a few sultry R&B tones and plenty of smooth, late night, smokey vibes. And most of all, a futuristic and spacious take on the urban sound.
For the most part, Casino revels in short, sharp and shockingly succinct musical passages, many are not much more than interludes rather than full-blown songs, sketches that lay down the ideas and outline of what the song might be and then pull the rug from under the listeners feet before swiftly moving on to the next idea.
Still Here and Peace of Mind, the opening brace of songs, are minimalist, understated rap narratives, others, such as Garnish or Unnecessary Doubt, feel almost like musical blog entries, a sonic diary of thoughts and musings put to a brooding beat. And although the songs are being put out for public consumption, they still feel as if we are hearing the inner thoughts and feelings of the artist, an intimate and vulnerable offering that you almost feel guilty for intruding on.
Get That Money is strange and glitchy, a jolting, jumping blend of serious rap and almost nursery rhyme vocals, Changes is a more traditional rap tirade and things end with Not Like The Rest, the perfect summation and full stop for the album.
And it is this addictive combination of new sounds and trippy accessibility which really moves things forward, breaks out of the comfort zones and offers a new take on an old sound. And unlike most rap and hip-hop which comes on like a challenge or a laying down of the gauntlet, Dusky is intimate, restrained and personal.
If ever rap music spoke of the inner termoil of those trying to find their way in the world, then this is where it is said most eloquently and in raps own first language but a language being re-written by cool and cunning linguists like Johnny Casino.