Skelethon Rhymesayers, Entertainment ****
This, the first full release in five years from Ian Matthias Bavitz aka Aesop Rock, is about loss, as the artwork attests – the dinosaur skeleton denoting all that has fallen away. Like so many artists who were on the stellar Def Jux label, Aesop Rock has a distinctive aesthetic as well as style-abstract lyrics, delivered with a peerless flow. Bavitz has acknowledged becoming more isolated in life, a feeling implied in a record that is as dark and personal as anything he’s produced to date. However, the darkness is explosive, as with the instrumentation on Leisureforce (aided by Grimace Federation), and the stuttering beats, bleeps and mournful strings on Zero Dark Thirty. While borrowing a lightness from less obvious collaborators such as Kimya Dawson on Crows 1, and sampling references from rock to jazz, it is to the darkness we return, but one brilliantly set alight through experience.
Download tracks:Zero Dark Thirty, Ruby ’81