What’s Up: Content Imagination

[20 September 2009]

By Ron Hart

No, joker, this is not the 4 Non Blondes cover band its name might imply. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The quixotic debut from the West Coast instrumental group What’s Up expounds on the results of a steady diet of Over-Nite Sensation-era Frank Zappa, RZA-fied Wu-Tang Clan science and Tortoise at its most dubwise to create something wholly unique and enjoyable all at once. And while the group now resides in Portland, Oregon, What’s Up fuels Content Imagination with the communal nature of the artist collective the band was a part of in its native Sacramento, California. This far-too-short 28-minute LP plays closely to the spontaneity of stoned Saturday afternoon jam sessions at the Witch Dome, the beloved creative space this album was recorded above. Fans of both Madlib and Pelican will certainly find something to cherish in the music of What’s Up and its freewheeling improvised swagger.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/110074-whats-up-content-imagination/