During the Arts Journalism course we attended two weeks ago, we were assigned to review any music album of choice. I reviewed Illogic’s 2004 release Celestial Clockwork.
Celestial Clockwork by Illogic
Underground poet/MC Illogic is an epitome of a true lyricist. His 2004 13 track release Celestial Clockwork is what purists would say defines underground/ alternative rap. From the intro to the Catholic-choir fused outro; this album is clearly exclusive. I doubt he was even trying to reach untapped audiences.
Illogic’s lyrical content is extremely complex and abstract. With that said, every next song has no traces of the last on Celestial Clockwork. In the age of commercial mediocrity bombardment, this might not help him harbour new fans. Especially with tracks like “Birthright” (featuring Blueprint), “1000 Whispers” and “Time Capsule”, which features underground demigods Vast Aire and Aesop Rock.
This Ohio native does, however, prove just how much of a versatile wordsmith he really is on numerous songs. Illogic is manipulative with words, you can literally see a five minute song play itself out as a two hour long movie. Songs like “First Trimester”, “Hollow Shell (Cash Clutch)” (my personal favourite) and “Sand”, featuring Slug of Atmosphere, are just some examples.
On “First Trimester” Illogic meticulously fuses the jazz/blues sampled beat with the story of a young couple dealing with an out of wedlock pregnancy that threatens the relationship.
“…Hobbling through stretches of sand dunes/ Stand consumed by a walking stick/ Surrounded by a desert of waste/
Searching for some clear liquid to mirage the dirt taste…” “Hollow Shell (Cash Clutch)” with lines like these, you don’t have to be an alternative hip hop enthusiast to figure Celestial Clockwork was aimed for thorough purists.
Production on Celestial Clockwork is heavily influenced by a wide range of genres, as is the norm with alternative hip-hop. From psychedelia, jazz, rock etc. Executive producer Blueprint harnessed these influences with the traditional “kick and snare” to knit rusty good old boom bap beats.
My conclusion? brilliant album, but with all the hynonyms and everything in between, it is definitely not for the faint hearted.