DJ Signify – Of Cities

21Jan09


(DJ Signify – Of Cities – Bully Records)

We’ve heard DJs like him before (i.e. RJD2, DJ Shadow), however, there is something very unique and compelling about Of Cities. It has a mood. It has a theme. It even has a story. How does that sound to you? How do you think an album with such attitude would start?

With silence. It starts with silence and goes into a dark atmosphere with a constant beat complimented with twangy strings dripping with reverb. Mid-song,  everything that was building disappears back into the dark abyss of silence. The emotion of doom and urgency sucked away to nothingness only to be replaced by quiet yet electrified static and a distant announcement. When the music returns, it builds up speed a little more urgently and less gloomily. And that’s just track one.

“Low Tide” features Aesop Rock. DJ Signify plays with white noise elements making it a back-track to a monologue about whistling while you work. As Aesop Rock begins to rap, the beat also picks up. Besides giving a smooth beat a heavy sound, such as creating a very solemn sound similar to a bell tolling, the chorus of “how low is your lowest low tide” and the metaphor for a low tide being varying levels of destruction  logistically makes this song a “downer”. But something abut the  partnership of Aesop Rock’s deep vocals and the mixture of noise continue the mood clearly set in the opening track, “The Sickness”. (Aesop Rock’s also featured on another track.)

The album is broken up  with interludes which are crucial to the atmosphere. It just blends tracks in  a transient way. It’s usually a break or simple beat lasting for about a minute before fading into silence and the next track beginning.

While conveying the same mood on every track, the songs drastically vary, either  by instrumentation, beat or some other element. DJ Signify transfers you to a world where there are no more blue skies.  Now, don’t discount this album as depressing. there are so many other layers to Of Cities that make the album enjoyable and worth writing about. The songs groove. The elements are unique to each track and there is a variance  to keep it appealing and enjoyable. The album was released yesterday (January 20th)

Track Listing:

1. The Sickness*
2. Low Tide (feat. Aesop Rock)*
3. Interlude 1
4. Costume Kids*
5. Delight to the Sadist (feat. Matt Kelly)
6. Interlude 2
7. Vanessa
8. Interlude 3
9. 1993*
10. Interlude 4
11. Sink or Swim (feat.  Aesop Rock)
12. The Gods Get Dirty
13. Interlude 5
14. Bollywood Babies*
15. Interlude 6
16. Hold Me Don’t Touch Me

Rating: Between 8 and 10

Also: Love the cover!

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