If the Anticon stable were of the barnyard rather than the figurative variety, all of its horses would probably have two heads due to inbreeding. Case in point: Telephone Jim Jesus. Besides being responsible for much of Restiform Bodies' instrumental end, George Chadwick (as the government calls him) provides backup for labelmates Passage (also a Bodies member), Alias and Anticon founder Sole. The incestuousness works both ways: Passage returns the favor by singing on one of A Point Too Far to Astronaut
's tracks ("Convertible Stingray"), and Pedestrian (whose own solo full-length drops in January) is all over this bitch. That's one convoluted family tree. But much like the Flowers In the Attic
kids, A Point Too Far...
has come out beautifully, if a little peculiar.
A Point Too Far to Astronaut will be a relief to listeners who appreciate the idea of turning hip hop on its head, but can't get past the nasal voices. Chadwick lays on the experimentation, but pads any potential sharp corners (such as "Blue in the Face"'s frenetic CD-skip sampling) with judiciously chosen sounds and melodies; "Blue in the Face" is softened with the shimmeringly fractured electric piano samples that are its main ingredient. Seeing as his first musical effort was called Pixies Rip Off Band (PR B for short), Chadwick obviously has an acquaintance with slightly skewed pop songwriting. Nothing here approaches a Doolittle level of catchiness, though the delicate dub-inflected smoothness of "Guessing Tubes" and the stately piano-driven atmospherics in "Little Boy One-Eye" (to name just a couple of examples) have a pensive but undeniable appeal.
Despite Pedestrian and Passage's presence, A Point Too Far... will hit you as an instrumental record. The MCs' contributions are filtered through the lens of lo-fi cut-n-paste, often making them indistinguishable from the vocal samples that pepper the disc. These snippets are taken from a variety of obscure sources, including the sort of people who would have voted the "moral values" ticket this election, and what sound like educational films. They create a political undercurrent that suffuses the album but doesn't weigh it down.
Telephone Jim Jesus will appeal to fans of both instrumental hip hop and more ambient fare; A Point Too Far to Astronaut's music is fairly unstructured, but never floats too far into the stratosphere. Likewise, Chadwick's ear for lovely timbres should make Boards of Canada enthusiasts prick up their ears. He's quite a productive branch of the Anticon family.