Artist: K-OsTitle: Atlantis: Hymns for DiscoRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Rodney Dugue
His name is K-OS (Knowledge of Self) and he raps frighteningly well with a conscience cadence and a demagogues virtue. Thats all you should care to know. Really. Its a shame everything is closeted and cost-effective; hes fluffily content with cheap ambition because rapping is only cost-worthy half the time. Hes not musically expensive or some wild profligate hounding for attention, hes scarcely economic, spending on a paupers budget and even then he doesnt want any monetary sympathy, I dont need a check, I need respect. This is far from a cheap product, though its the bare essentials dropped in a soul-tight basket. Remarkable in simplicity, yet similarly grandiose and breath-taking, taking giant swings at love, humanity, and equality. You have to realize this is not American rap, or rap at all. This is music, music that contains a bit of rap, briefly.
This sets the stage for Atlantis: Hymns for Disco (Virgin), a temporary zenith in K-OS early discography. Charm is his choice of weapon on Flypaper, a song that targets the polarizing disconnect triggered, by unsurprisingly, the trigger itself. You see it everyday, all the people standing at the train station/we dont talk to each other now, what an alien nation, now, he quips.
Everything is addressed from a laissez-faire perspective that does not trip or give his music hiccups, but give listeners what listeners deserve: a listeners album complete with grassy sounds and easily decipherable rhymes. Cat Diesel is a listeners song sliced evenly by skipping harp plucks and recounts a story of a super-woman, guitar-playing (I was sad until I heard her guitar) goddess, I was a fish, and she was the water I couldnt believe, she had to be from the galaxies. His forays into love dont stop there, Black Ice Hymn for Disco exhibits love of a different nature, whats the definition of this thing called black?...I wonder if my soul is on ice again, love of self.
Sometimes, you wish K-OS was just a bit radical and less diplomatic to his cause, but it just shows musical ambition comes at a price. Most of the time, K-OS spends wisely. Xenophobia will not be permitted on this trip, just a passport. The trip will not cost you airfare, anyway, just some patience and a pair of ears.