Method Man – Tical

Method Man.  The most charismatic and possibly most well known member of the Wu Tang Clan, dropped the first solo album of the group after their monumental debut as rap’s first supergroup.  It remains one of the most essential recordings in Wu – and the genre in general – history.

Fuck yes.  Firmly lodged in the holy triptych of Wu legend, between Enter the 36 Chambers and Liquid Swords, Tical is a timeless slice of hip hop tastiness, as fresh now as the day it dropped 16 years ago.  16 years ago, to think of it, is a long way back for any album, much less one in the constantly evolving (or revolving, depending on your take) hip hop universe, to hold relevancy.  But it’s true, through and through.  Put this on right next to whatever your friends have been digging lately and watch as nothing happens:  no jarring shift to ‘old school’ sound, no ratcheting back of production intricacy, and certainly no stale whiff surrounding Meth’s iconic vocal delivery.  Blunted is blunted, and this album defined it in 1994.  No update required, just inhale and enjoy.

If Liquid Swords was a jagged rusty blade flashing in the dead of winter, Tical is the bare-bulb-lit basement beneath a sticky summer night, full of smoke and apprehension.  Isolated, paranoid, incubating ideas for the outside world, it’s an environment unto itself, an album to truly be immersed in.  Coming up for air when the last track ends is understandable, but the stoned reverberations beckon again soon.  Spinning from the opening PBS library fanfare through dusty organ laments like All I Need and the exhuberant 70’s-action-flick horn laden highlight Release Yo’ Delf, there’s not a more consistent Wu release in existence.  Tical lays down a mood and explores every nook and cranny therein.  And hell, if you share my allergy to skits, there’s no more undiluted source of Wu mastery than this release – even my beloved Liquid Swords has the one “Tony Starks” intro (not that I mind it) and no matter how funny the ‘torture mothafuckas’ segment on 36 Chambers is, it breaks all sense of flow.  This piece is straight genius shot from a glock, the proverbial all killer, no filler work.  If you somehow haven’t become intimate in the intervening years, you owe it to yourself to dive in.  Lacking any better words of encouragement than the man himself, I leave you with his words:

Throw your hands in the sky

and wave ’em from side to side

and if you’re ready to spark up the Meth- Tical

let me hear you say STIM-U-LI!

…so yeah.

[pick this up virtually anywhere. amazon for instance.  or cduniverse]

Fox Bat Strategy

David Lynch is a 100% certifiable mad genius.  This is statement of fact, not opinion.  From film to music to writing to, well, reporting the weather,  he’s a transcendental force to be rockoned with.  In addition to having impeccable visual sense, an ear for ethereal storytelling, and the golden touch of endearingly profound weirdness, the man has unfathomably great taste in music.  To that end, he recruited David Jaurequi and several session players to record the music for his seminal Twin Peaks film, Fire Walk With Me.  Under the name Fox Bat Strategy, they appeared in the Pink Room and Blue Frank scenes, and also recorded this set of tunes written by Lynch… and promptly disappeared for years.


Upon Jaurequi’s death in 2006, Lynch decided to summon this shelved collection of haunting pop apparitions toward the light of day.  It took him three years, but thank god he did at all.  These seven tunes are beyond cool – the perfect crystallization of the alluring idea of his film work translated into a darkly romantic album.

Fox Bat Strategy is pretty much what a David Lynch fan would expect based on experience with his unique oeuvre.  Sweetly menacing, reverb-laden old school bluesy rock sounds with a hint of pitch-black midnight surf guitar.  Lyrics written by the man himself straddle the line between Roy Orbison– or Ricky Nelson-style saccharine love ballads and the unnerving prose laid out in the dreamier sequences of Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr. or Twin Peaks itself.  It’s too bad this is the only release we’ll ever hear; we can take comfort in the fact that there are at least a solid 40 minutes of smokey majesty to savor, again and again.

[please take the golden opportunity to purchase this via amazon or Mr. Lynch himself]

Caural – Mirrors For Eyes

Caural is the artist name of Chicago native, multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire Zachary Mastoon.  This is his latest, and most fully fleshed out full length release.


Mirrors for Eyes is deeply saturated in hazy tones and heady, soulful beats.  Spinning this is like dropping down a mental slide through treated drums, live guitar, organic synth lines; the slightly fragile production feels held together by the grooves of an ancient (but well preserved) vinyl from a connoisseur’s original Blue Note collection.  Managing this fine balancing act is what makes the record so astounding: projecting a thoroughly modern and forward-leaning style while retaining the crackling edge of some classically forgotten gem – one recently unearthed from a hermetically sealed time capsule.  Mixing fully instrumental and vocal tracks (some rapped, some sung) with a casual ease, this LP will eat 50 minutes and ask for more, stealthily working it’s way under the skin until the ghostly tones emerge in dreams and every paused, reflective moment throughout the day.  The draw is narcotic and can relentlessly stick for weeks.  Give it a spin; there’s no fear of addiction when the product’s this pure.  For instant convincing, spin Re-Experience Any Moment You Choose and quickly find yourself hitting restart to get the whole picture.

[grab this at boomkat or cd universe, or the reliable standby amazon]