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Deep Space 5
The Night We Called It A Day

It’s really not fair to hip-hop artists to keep expecting them to modify the game so frequently. Some have succeeded in doing it (P.E. in 1988, De La Soul in ’89, the Geto Boys in ’90, Tribe in ’91, Wu-Tang in ’93, Gang Starr in ’94, Kool Keith and The Automator operating as Dr. Octagon in ‘95, Company Flow in ’97, DJ Shadow in ’98, Madlib as Quasimoto in 2000, and MF Doom in 2001), but to just wait for it to happen takes the fun out of simply grooving on the beats and the rhymes. How are they gonna flip it this time? Who cares? Just relax, 'cuz it’s obvious Deep Space 5 are working this shit out.

Is this the alternative to alternative-hip-hop already (finally)? The Rubik’s Cube, backpackin’, Anticon aficionados steady memorizing every move that posse makes, should pay attention for a minute. Listen, Anticon wouldn’t know funky if Bootsy Collins took a steaming meatloaf dump in his left hand and chucked it at Sage Francis’ puzzled face. I dig Anticon, don’t get me wrong. But, unfortunately, there are some who think that you either have to come hard-boiled and psychomatic like Ill Bill to be a Caucasoid hip-hopper, or you have to battle the urge to rock the bells, finding ways to construct rhymes about your math homework instead. I’ve never thought any of that latter business necessary. The Deep Space 5 crew--who are primarily white themselves--prove it in fifteen songs or less.

They blend an experimental, often analytical angle on the music with an ingrained Old School love for the way words simply sound, or sound simply.

Deep Space 5 are The Beat Rabbi, Fred Bruno, Playdough, Sev Statik, Illtripp 1, Listener, The Recon, Sintax The Terrific, DJ Dust, Soul Heir the manCHILD, and some indistinct, shadowy shape simply known as Stu Dent. With this many voices the microphone gets tired fast, but they keep their deliveries from becoming confusing. I remember spending two days listening casually to Enter The Wu-Tang before I knew the difference between Masta Killah and U-God. Not so problematical this time.

Mr. Lif lends a hand to the title track via his voice-over on the chorus. At least I think it’s him. I could see Lif teaming up with this crew any day, and taking Anticon’s Sole to task along with his own label-mate El-P, who’s got more than enough lyrics himself to go around. Maybe they’d do a sequel to "Linda Tripp", and maybe this time I won’t have to download my copy. Sev Statik and crew look ready to rumble either way, with shining mics and wits on overdrive. The Night We Called It a Day is nothing to relax, watch ice cream melt, stare at the wall, or chill by the pool with. I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend you washing you car to it, unless you want a huge fucking water bill. While you might be clever and purchase this album, my guess is that it will eventually own you right back.

Jason Thornberry

Track Listing:

  1. The Collective (intro)
  2. The Night We Called It A Day
  3. Elementary
  4. Stick This In Your Ear
  5. Winter In Manhattan
  6. Take the Rhythm
  7. Closed Caption
  8. This Curse I Bear
  9. Ziontific
  10. World Go Round
  11. F-Words
  12. Joywriting
  13. Murder Creek
  14. Thinking By Numbers
  15. If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

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