Music

k-os: Atlantis - Hymns For Disco

Canada's hip-hop king returns with another album of eclectic sounds.


K-os

Atlantis: Hymns for Disco

Label: Virgin
US Release Date: 2007-02-20
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

There are few more revered, more beloved, and, in all honesty, more talented Canadian artists than k-os. And with the host of Junos, MuchMusic Awards, and Canadian Urban Music Awards he has received, it seems that the rest of the country seems to be catching up with this fact. His music is eclectic, interesting, a mix of everything, instantly accessible yet also difficult to pin down, and something that people outside of Canada ought to be paying a lot more attention to. His previous two albums, Exit and Joyful Rebellion have become bona-fide classics.

To listen to k-os' music is to listen to everything and anything mixed together. The album begins with "Electrik Heat -- The Seekwill" and the countdown that starts off the song is apropos considering the gravitas of k-os' voice on the track. The song is evidence of k-os' abundant lyrical skills, and mixed with the thudding drums in the background, the song becomes a dread-filled dance track filled with both bounce and gloom. "Sunday Morning" throws together hand-claps, drums that sound like handclaps, and soaring vocals on the chorus in order to create a track of introspective uplift. "Valhalla" brings out Sam Roberts' distinctive vocals in the background and a shimmering surf guitar while "CatDiesel" jumps and nods.

The last two tracks are absolute highlights. "Highway 7" is in the vein of Joyful Rebellion's "Hallelujah", where k-os makes it stop for just a second, slows down the whirl of sound and fury, and gives the listener a moment to breathe. Backed by only a single guitar, k-os' lonely voice makes the aforementioned Highway 7 seem like the loneliest, most lost highway in the world. The showstopper is the final track "Ballad of Noah", featuring friends Buck 65 and Kamau. Riding a snare and grooving along a subdued guitar, the three MCs rap with enough authority, introspection, and thoughtfulness to both blow your mind and open it up all at once. This song is precisely why k-os has been heaped with so much praise: a melding of genres and sounds, thought-provoking lyrics, and in it all, a feeling of joy and hope at what he is doing.

The music on this album glows and shines, and while it certainly isn't consumed by grime and dirt, it has a degree of edge to it. Beyond his soothing voice and eclectic sounds is a man dealing with his vulnerabilities and emotions and his place in the world. Joining him on this personal journey, full of curious sounds and evocative experiences, will not be a disappointment.

7

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image