Atlantis: Hymns for Disco

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 demagogue’s virtue. That’s all you should care to know. Really. It’s a shame everything is closeted and cost-effective; he’s fluffily content with cheap ambition because rapping is only cost-worthy half the time. He’s not musically expensive or some wild profligate hounding for attention, he’s scarcely economic, spending on a pauper’s budget and even then he doesn’t want any monetary sympathy, “I don’t need a check, I need respect”. This is far from a cheap product, though – it’s 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 don’t 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 couldn’t believe, she had to be from the galaxies”. His forays into love don’t stop there, “Black Ice Hymn for Disco” exhibits love of a different nature, what’s 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.