VA: The Zeitgeist EP
Project: Mooncircle / Spoken View Records

Can hip-hop be timeless and old-school at the same time? It sure can, if the four cuts on The Zeitgeist EP have anything to say about it. The joint product of Project: Mooncircle and Spoken View Records, the release stokes hip-hop fire in pairing seething MC turns with classic backings built from crackle-flecked vinyl. What makes the outing especially unusual is that it brings together artists from two different languages, with Spoken View contributing German rappers and Project: Mooncircle adding its own intercontinental crew (participants include Netherlander Joe Kickass, British duo Obba Supa, and rhymers Morlockk Dilemma and Hiob).

Joe Kickass and Morlockk Dilemma's mighty opener “Real MC's” first rolls out a massive head-nodding groove punctuated by blazing horns and electric guitar stabs before the MCs trade off, with the first riffing in a low-down Doom style (“Hip-hop is near and dear to me / Love and respect for a real MC”) and the other spitting out rapid-fire rhymes. CYNE lovers should proceed directly to “Roots And Foundation” by John Robinson and Damion Davis, which underlays the vocalists' blistering attack with a radiant, horn-kissed swing that would do CYNE proud. In its lush instrumental base, “Somthings Wrong” [sic] by Lewis Parker & Hiob also swings deliciously while the vocalists seemingly squeeze as many syllables as they can into the allotted bars, their bitter diatribes countered by the sweet cooing of the background vocal swell. A celebratory horn riff and pulsating bass line elevate the epic throb of Obba Supa and Sichtbeton's “Titans,” with again the MCs trading jam-packed verses. All differences aside, the material is the real deal for sure. (Instrumental versions of the four tracks are also featured.)

June 2010