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High Priest

Born Identity

(Sound-Ink Records; US: 27 Feb 2007; UK: 26 Feb 2007)

Life post-Antipop Consortium has been a trudge through the underground for each member, with Beans churning out blah records for the past couple of years and M. Sayyid laying on the d-low. For his solo debut, third ex-member High Priest channels some of the intensity of his previous group’s efforts, but subdues their outright eccentricities. Born Identity is a cloudy and muddled sonic flourish, and that’s what makes it enticing. High Priest puts his listener at a distance by overcrowding tracks with pre-apocalyptic foresight, industrial space-age production and hypnotic lyrical flow. On of the longer tracks, “American Prayer,” Priest shifts from outer space rap to spoken word about mind-controlling serums to accapella chanting to an instrumental. The constant morphing of form makes the record tough to digest, but like on “Prayer” and “Afro Horn,” where a deep saxophone plays against a heaven-reaching chorus, the album broadcasts audacity. And the lyrics are as futuristic as the beats, with conspiracy theories, war veterans and 9/11 as the album’s guts and fodder. The record does become too cluttered at times and never hits hard, like on the pointless off-key instrumental “Haunted Samba” and crass “Keep Time,” which awkwardly features TV on the Radio, but if High Priest cleans up a bit and organizes his thoughts, he could have dance floors across the nation grooving to farting synthesizers and post-9/11 raps in no time.

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