Telephone Jim Jesus: Anywhere Out of the Everything

Anywhere Out of the Everything, the sophomore outing by Telephone Jim Jesus (George Chadwick), works eleven densely textured head-nodders into a largely instrumental patchwork collage. “Did You Hear?” opens the album promisingly when scatterings of psychedelic haze and acoustic strums morph into a thick brew of careening squeals, rumbling bass, voice samples, and bucolic synth flutter. Better still is “Birdstatic” which merges a folktronic upper sphere of orchestral synth billow and bright guitar plucks with a heavier bottom end of bulldozing squelch (guest Alias's contribution?). In the fuzzy “Ugly Knees,” Anticon mates Pedestrian and Doseone trade verses atop harp-like guitar effects and stuttering snares, while Why? guest-raps (“What's your life like?/Man, mine ain't real/Every time I wake up/like, ‘Run that reel'”) on the electro-banger “Dice Raw.” All well and good, but it gradually becomes apparent that, while the album's material is passable, nothing ever leaps out as exceptional.

Anywhere Out of the Everything possesses all the earmarks of a state-of-the-art instrumental hip-hop album—digitally-constructed collisions of samples, synths, spoken word excerpts, MC guest shots, processed acoustic instruments, aggressive beats—yet ultimately doesn't impress. The album may very well be a testament to the loneliness and madness of a life lived on the road, and may very well include amongst its sound materials a violin recorded in a London tubeway, voices captured on Dictaphone, and a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, but none of that matters much when there's nothing here that jerks me to attention and demands I hit replay. A jaw-dropper like Dabrye's Two/Three, for example, makes this release sound pedestrian by comparison. While there's nothing objectionable about Anywhere Out of the Everything, there's also not a single melody, composition, or new idea that mesmerizes or brands itself upon my memory.

September 2007