ABDOMINAL – Escape From The Pigeonhole – 2007 – Album review
HIGHLIGHTS: Pedal Pusher - Radio Friendly – Open Relationship - Walk Left/ Stand Right
SOUNDBITE: “I don’t give a fuck about bad reviews since I only make music cuz I find it amusing”
I’ve got a pigeonhole at work and 99% of what gets put in it is complete crap, so I have no trouble at all in sympathising with Abdominal’s need to escape his. Presumably it wasn’t a musical sub-genre pigeonhole he was trying to escape though, as this LP showcases neither a new grime or jiggy direction and the beatmakers are usual suspects DJs Format and Fase as well as their spiritual brothers soul/jazz/funk crate diggers Cut Chemist, Ugly Duckling’s Einstein, Bird and 2003 DMC champ DJ Dopey. I assume Abs was trying to climb out of the shadow of the bigger names in this list though – so that effectively – on this LP – they’re his bitches instead of vice versa. Or to put it another way – his usual DJ cronies may have done the beats and the cuts but his name is on the LP which in all honesty is pretty damn good. I don’t know what it is about Jewish boys and their hip-hop but Abs doesn’t do anything here to blot the stainless record achieved by the Beastie Boys and 3rd Bass. Those familiar with the Toronto MC’s previous work off two DJ Format LPs and / or his collab. Flowtation Device with DJ Fase will probably be expecting a selection of humourous rhymes effortlessly delivered over uptempo new-old-school beats on a Jurassic 5, Ugly Duckling tip and a fair few tracks won’t disappoint on this score. Current single Pedal Pusher and B-side – the Cut Chemist er – cut - (and decidedly un-radio friendly) Radio Friendly are cases in point, as is the Format produced Heaven’s Demon. On the other hand new cohort DJ Dopey generates an almost Tribe Called Quest-like groove for Open Relationship in a frank exploration of how Abs and his missus dealt with the issue of sexual temptation and lust during tour-enforced absences from each other. Opener The Escape comes across like some sort of beat-poet stream-of-consciousness rap as does Flutter’s 'chaos theory' tale of global nuclear destruction caused by a butterfly. Second track Breathe Later showcases Abdominal’s phenomenal ability to rap at length apparently without pausing for something as trivial as drawing a breath - let’s put it this way - you wouldn’t want an argumentative teenager to develop that sort of lung capacity. Mind you – it’s the sort of track you impress your mates with rather than the sort of thing that gets the club bouncing. Did I say ‘no’ to a new ‘jiggy’ direction earlier – well it’s almost true. Sex With Girls’s pastiche of various r ‘n’ b cliches is unsurprisingly about sex with girls and allows Abdominal to get away with lyrics about ‘sticking the cock in’ (as in “just to make sure your doorway’s adequately prepared for me to come a-knockin’/ fuck this metaphor, I like to stick my cock in”) revealing a troubling inner battle between his creative flair for imagery and a tourette’s-like compulsion to say what others only think. A different counterpoint to the more straight up tracks is the majestic Walk Left, Stand Right a loose-limbed big-band psychedelic groove providing a musical platform for Abs to get a few random beefs of his chest. There’s nothing like sharing. I could have done with a few more like that and I’d still like to hear Abs rap over beats supplied by a DJ with a different set of influences. If, you weren’t already sure that MC Abdominal had arrived, you ought to be when you hear this. Out now.
Listen to Abdominal - Escape From The Pigeonhole