Review : Bigg Jus - Machines That Make Civilization Fun
BbcSince pioneering New York underground rappers Company Flow dissolved just over a decade ago, Bigg Jus has plotted an altogether lower-profile path than former bandmate El-P. His first post-Flow solo release, 2001’s Plantation Rhymes, was a powerful, painfully autobiographical set that mixed tales of childhood desperation and hip hop salvation with visionary glitch-hop productions that never made for easy listening, but were never less than electrifying. Subsequent solo albums – along with releases as Nephlim Modulation Sessions, his insurrectionary side-project with producer Orko Eloheim – burrowed further underground, thorny thickets of challenging noise and compelling conspiracy theories.
Now Jus breaks the seven years of silence that followed 2005’s seething, Hieronymus Bosch-inspired Poor People’s Day with this paranoid dub masterpiece – albeit a “don’t mean they’re not after you” kind of paranoid, and a futurist flavour of dub that swaps old-school tape techniques for digital stutters, echoes and overloads that overwhelm the senses. Making even The Bomb Squad’s work sound spartan by comparison, it’s a dense, chaotic assault of corrosive Blade Runner synths, ever-evolving drum loops, acerbic samples and distorted dubstep wub, fashioning twisted hooks from the electronic wreckage....full text
MushrecordsOn Machines That Make Civilizations Fun, Bigg Jus assaults the growing ugliness and inequality of society with a fury and intelligence that are unparalleled in these bleak times of perpetual war and economic fatigue. It makes sense, perhaps, that those coming of age in the diminished hope of the years post-9/11 have gravitated towards the escapist choices of the new generation: beachy chillwave and materialistic rap. Bigg Jus has a longer memory, though. His first project, Company Flow, stood at the top of underground hip-hop during an era when it was actually about something, and he’s still haunted by the events that leveled his home town a decade ago. He doesn’t see the point in rapping about greed or girls, and Machines That Make Civilizations is for those who have been paying attention during the decline and who are hungry for music that aggressively addresses the problems that are right in front of our faces. As cities across America and the world begin to awaken, Bigg Jus offers a soundtrack that speaks truth to power with a profundity that is worthy of the moment....full text
MishkanycYou may not know Bigg Jus, because Machines That Makes Civilization Fun is technically only his second album. Japan-only debut, and British-only re-release, and mini self-released album nonwithstanding. Company Flow albums aside. Regardless of his Nephlim Modulation Systems collaborative albums with Orko Eloheim.
What’s more, he’s incredibly elusive, giving out scant interviews and cautiously limiting his presence on social media. So what’s the appeal? Well the first track will settle you right in, as slightly muffled piano stabs give way to a pounding beat and frantic bassline, on top of various car alarms sounds and death notes yelled through bullhorns. In keeping with the rest of his work, Bigg Jus goes straight for the jugular, attempting to wake up brains numbed by government propaganda. While his previous album was handled by his homie Gman, he produced this one himself – he had to take it all upon himself. Machines That Make Civilization Fun. Machines That Make Civilization Run.
I’m hesitant to call it a concept album, but it might as well be: Jus’ bunker ethics found a perfect backdrop when the voting/drum/network machines attacked. It’s pretty crazy out there, but it’s not all fucked, there’s hope, but his stance his clear: “Occupy Oakland! Occupy Washington! Occupy Langley! Occupy all dem!” Bigg Jus comes off more often than not as a shamanic prophet telling tales of the present to warn the masses, educate the youths, make civilization fun. He spits in a strange monotone interrupted by illuminated tangential moments. Take the eponymous track halfway between yelling and lamenting on a beat that sounds more like a machinegun drumcheck. This is probably the best illustration (not the most audible) of what you are getting into. Lest you would think this is an accident, Kush Star Catalog features a rambling style of the same quality....full text
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