By Alex P80 Parks
Once occupying a mostly niche space in rap with his creative vocabulary and quick-tongue delivery, Aesop Rock has developed more than merely a cult following, instead entrenching himself as a prominent figure in the indie rap scene over the last 20+ years. Aesop acts as the narrator or tour guide into the parallel universe that encompasses the diverse elements of the Spirit World. Aesop returns with a high-energy, electrified album to satisfy fans, both the stalwart stans and casual newcomers.
Crafting most of the beats himself, Aesop dug deep on this one, capitalizing on the theme of a field guide of another world. It’s evident throughout the project with tones of frenetic tension and a vibe of impending catastrophe, fostering the need for a survival manual. While he dips into important issues, Aesop is also one to have fun, intertwining his social commentary with plenty of humor and creating concept tracks simply for entertainment. An ode to aging and subsequent spinal deterioration on “1 to 10,” Aesop complains of the frequent increase in his back pain over a quirky piano loop. On “Attaboy” lyrics like:
“I’m in pajama bottoms listening to Chaka Khan, eating matcha pocky, knocking posses out the polygon.”
Is just one example that the immense creativity and lyrical dexterity hasn’t diminished over the years. Reeking of a dystopian wasteland, Boot Soup begins as an anxious, off-beat scatter. When the beat flips with the added heavy electro guitar chord paired with tense electronic notes, Aesop shepherds us through another uncharted territory in the Spirit World. The west coast vibe of “Coveralls” oozes indifference to the populace. Other highlights like “Crystal sword” with its wobbly synths and funky bass groove and “Jumping coffin” both stand out with a heroic triumphant tone full of punchy drums.
Check the visuals for the psychedelic, lead single “Pizza Alley” here:
Crafting all the beats but one himself, the beats display a full spectrum of sound as Aesop rumbles his way through the tracks with syllabic mastery and creative rhyme schemes. His beats naturally suit his own style of rhyming with particular specificity. Aesop Rock creates a clear distinction with the theme of the album and the soundscapes incorporated. The beats often employ digital effects and multiple layers of samples and pieces of sound. From his own labyrinth-laden, complex rhymes, coupled with every carefully delivered and enunciated phoneme, Aesop pulls the listener into this alternate dimension to experience the otherworldly elements. Take careful notes and watch your step with Aesop Rock’s Spirit World Field Guide.
Cop Spirit World Field Guide here: