Genres are like dinosaurs. They were a necessary part of evolution, a necessary step between a distant then and a here and now but now they seem out of step with the modern age. Big, lumbering and troublesome. St Geo seems to have the same view of the cliched music genre. Why pursue one particular style or sound when you can play with myriad sonic streams? Why be predictable when you can surprise the listener by where the music goes? Why be like everyone else? Why indeed?
Steam is the sound of someone happy being their own person. Okay it has a hip-hop core and the lyrics are as often flowing raps as they are sung deliveries but that is just the platform that everything else is built on. R&B grooves lace through electronic washes, minimalist, alt-pop salvoes tear through more urban soundscapes and originality dances closely with deftly sampled sounds.
But as always, it’s not about the raw materials that you use, it is what you build with them that counts. Dangerous People and Queen Save the God feel like the classic hip-hop sound updated for the more discerning tastes of today’s audience and at the other end of the spectrum Strobe Light is a slower paced, more spacious affair. And between those two points St Geo creates urban hymns for her, modern street sermons for the beat of the city and sonic slices of reality for a world on the edge.
If hip-hop gave us rap and rap then wandered off into more easily charted commercial waters in search of a quick buck, Steam is a wonderful insight into what might by now have become the norm if the powers that be had sailed that ship on a much more challenging course.