Review : Theophilus London - Timez Are Weird These Nights
PopmattersIt feels like it’s been longer than a year since Theophilus London’s last big release, 2011’s Timez Are Weird These Days. At the time, I remember hearing a lot of talk about how ahead of the curve he was, how his sound was the future, where hip-hop was going. Hot on the heels of genre-obliterating releases like This Charming Mixtape, which had established him as a Stetson-wearing iconoclast who fluidly covered the whole spectrum from singing to rapping on an almost-absurdly-eclectic range of samples, it offered a blend of hip-hop and dance grooves that, more straightforward though it may have been, remained a treat—far from the highlight of the year, but still a highlight. The danger of being so far ahead of the curve, however, is that when the curve just swerves off in a completely different direction, what used to be the future can become simply an anomaly or, worse, dated.
I hesitate to call Timez Are Weird These Days “dated”, per se, and I still bump it fairly regularly, if less frequently than before. At worst it feels like a sort of alternate vision of where buzz-circuit rap could have gone, before the massive success of cloud rap (just when does a subgenre lose its quotation marks?), before people stopped talking about “rave rap” apart from the awesomely aggressive freakiness of Die Antwoord (who sound almost nothing like Theophilus London). And if “Big Spender”, the lead single from his forthcoming next release, is any indication, Theophilus London has no problem shifting to keep up with the times or even just push his own sound further. “Big Spender” is a fantastic song; it has one of those beats that makes you want to head-nod until your neck snaps, and manages to fit both London and current zeitgeist king A$AP Rocky on a beat that sounds fresh as hell and plays to both of their strengths without quite sounding how you’d expect a song from either of them to sound. It seems Theophilus London has, for now at least, nothing to worry about. Dude is going to do very well for himself, and I’m excited to see it and hear it.
This leaves Timez Are Weird These Nights, a track-by-track remixing of Timez Are Weird These Days, in a sort of tricky position. The list of remixers is solid, and people are definitely talking about London again, but it’s a reworking of an album that was never quite his strongest or best-loved work to begin with, unfair as it may seem to grade against the curve of his massive early successes. I’ll admit, my expectations were low, but Timez Are Weird These Nights holds up far better than I’d hoped....full text
MtviggyThe awesome that such a move implies is pretty solidly reflected in his choice of remixers, from dubstep giant Skream to up-and-comer Brodinski, of aptly named Bromance Records. Brodinski’s version of “Last Name London” quakes like it’s from the belly of a massive soundsystem, flipping Theo’s original Knight Rider soundtrack production.
And as so often happens in the DJ world, complete unknowns make a strong showing. In this case it’s the winner of Theo’s remix contest, Silasopathic, whose take on “All Around the World” drains out the joie de vivre and adds plenty of dread in the form of early hip-hop breaks, ominous organ stabs, and even some jungly bits. Italian electro-house group Bloody Beetroots brings the sunsets and babes with their Ibiza-friendly disco take on “Why Even Try.” Theo’s line Why even try/to lie about the end of a relationship, takes on an almost soothing quality, like “Why even try dude, cause really, there’s other hotties in the club.”...full text
JenesismagazineTo the untrained ear, you might mistake Theophilus London for Kid Cudi, but no, it’s actually the upstart Brooklyn emcee known for his genre-shattering sound. After dropping his debut album last year, Timez Are Weird These Days, a remixed version will be available for digital download April 24th, 2012. The album, entitled Timez Are Weird These Nightz, features remixes by some of the premier electronic production talent in music, including the likes of Crookers, the Italian production duo behind numerous Billboard topping hits, like the “Day N’Nite” remix back in 2008.
Theophilus’s tracks are always diverse and similarly vibrant, especially the remixes available on Nightz. Those who are quick to shy away from Theophilus’s “rapper” moniker would be missing out. Theophilus brings a frenetic, lively, and varied flair on his tracks that even those who are casual music listeners will surely enjoy. The tracks on the remixed album are more pulsating and concussive than those on the original, and they would feel right at home on a night out at the club. There is also plenty of variety in regards to the sonic ambience on the remix album. The remixed version of “Last Name Theophilus” is cold, aggressive, and sharp, whereas “I Stand Alone” is a stark, bright, and triumphant contrast. The electronic production is never too over empowering and coupled with Theophilus’s aggressive energy, it makes for an enjoyable combination.
Rather than taking anything away from the original tracks, the electronic production enhances and refreshes the original album, so those who already heard Dayz time will get plenty of replay value listening to Nightz. The tracks personify and embody a young, energetic, and individualized spirit that regardless of your genre bias, you’ll be sure to enjoy Nightz from start to finish....full text
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