Beans - Now, Soon, Someday (EP)
Coming out of New York, Beans was once a member of the Boom Poetic Collective, a renowned hip-hip crew working out of Brooklyn. After a stint in Anti Pop Consortium, who released the smart Arrhythmia, Warp Records retained his contract for the recording of solo material, which began with last year's Tomorrow Right Now. This, the follow-up EP to that album, sees Beans mixing clever lyrics over rootsy hip-hop.
Initially, there is the feel of The Wu-Tang Clan clashing with '77 era Brian Eno to Now Soon Someday as Beans' surreal, complex rapping spirals over experimental electronica. As the analogue keyboards stutter between choruses in the opening track, Structure Tone, it's Bowie's Low that first comes to mind but as track one gives away to Win Or Lose You Lose, a little of the experimentation gives away for raw hip-hop, whether on the skewed soul of Mutescreamer or the creeping oscillations that flip over the chorus to Databreaker.
With Gold Skull and Composition In Void bringing the music down into a grittier sound, Crevice takes church organ into territories previously charted only by Talking Heads' Remain In Light before two inessential remixes round off the EP.
Whilst never startling - for example, there is little of the dazzling music of The Gravediggaz debut nor of moments from Wu-Tang Forever - Now Soon Someday is a great example of the bleak, tense sound of East Coast rap. With none of the laid-back sound that eased itself out of Los Angeles, the Now Soon Someday EP sounds as though it could have come out of the first wave of Def Jam signings yet the music, which avoids many of the obvious tricks of hip-hop, sounds radically up to date.
With only nine songs, the twists and turns of the music never becomes dull and over repeated listenings, the Now Soon Someday EP is an assured recording that ought to appeal to those who miss rapid-fire rapping over dark, scratchy beats.