On Ninja Tune
If anything, APC's real achievement was to prove that hip-hop did not have to be a violation of the event of thinking. The group was lauded for its word wars and cerebral excursions into disintegrating beatscapes that liberated listeners from the braindead habits created by a decade of all-too-predictable postures and sounds. Now slimmed-down, Airborn Audio has reevaluated its stance, and spent the past eight months in the studio lab-ing out with a newfound precision and a new kind of savage love for their work.
With this album, High Priest and M Sayyid again promise a viral presence never to be equaled, yet sure to spawn another pox of unsuccessful imitators.
Having blistered venues and audiences across NYC for nearly a year, Airborn has honed its live show to cackle in the face of expectation with a taut assault on convention and languor.
For this enigmatic duo, biographical information has always seemed a needless clutter given the singularity of their music. 'Good Fortune' is a serious, unabashed, self-aware yet non self-conscious masterwork. This is a physical music that feels disjointed, yet hyper-connected by insisting on the absence of boundaries rather than making aims to blur them.
M Sayyid and High Priest plunge headlong into competing reference points and clashing styles, mining both high-brow poetic tantrums and ecstatically obtuse jingles — what emerges is a sequence of pan-cultural aphorisms that sound something like the happy bastard of Sun Ra, Luc Ferrari era-musique concrete, and Moondog freestyling on an acid-fueled bender. On the track 'Monday through Sunday', Sayyid and Priest are self-assured, staging invasive self-analysis over broken toy beats simultaneously influenced by early electronic music such as Alain Goraguer's soundtrack for 'Fantastic Planet' (1973) and the tone-deaf instrumentals of early Nintendo. On most of the tracks, various strains of beats inbreed and collide with one another, creating an arrhythmic chug — a skewed momentum of falters and half-starts from which Priest and Sayyid deliver skittering lyrical passages where narrative and color explode.
Airborn Audio's sonic braindance is populated by blissed-out tempos, nearly invisible allusions, and a verbal friction that briefly stutters before cascading into an avalanche of swords. No one else so effortlessly launches into such convincing party anthems directly on the heals of malevolent linguistic traps.
In the manic track 'Bright Lights', this hybrid speech gives way to an ambivalently robotic pronouncement: "Welcome to Airborn Audio/Your new provider for the finest in sound/Crews might come and crews might go/But it's the hottest new sound around."