CD Knives from Heaven (CD 7045816),
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Knives from Heaven

  • 1. Terra Cotta
    2. Half Amazed A/B
    3. Document 6B
    4. Rainstick Streets Aglow
    5. This Is for My Brother the Wind
    6. Going to Another Place
    7. Might Be
    8. Deadpan Stare
    9. Rockers Hifi
    10. Ornate
    11. Non Sexorexia
    12. In This and All Worlds - (featuring Nedelka Prescod)
    13. And Then a Voice Says
    14. Alloys
    15. Arabic Cowboy John Clint Ameer, The
    16. Moorish Waltz
    17. Reeds
    18. 2piece
    19. Hammered Into Shape
    20. [Untitled]
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): THI57198

  • Credits
    EngineerTim Conklin

    Personnel: HPrizm (vocals, electronics); Matthew Shipp (piano); Beans (vocals).
    Audio Mixers: HPrizm; Tim Conklin.
    Recording information: Spin Studios, Li City.
    In 2003, Antipop Consortium's Beans and HPrizm (nee Priest) engaged Matthew Shipp, William Parker, drummer Guillermo Brown, vibraphonist Khan Jamal, and trumpeter Daniel Carter in a slippery exercise where hip-hop's new century rhymes met the new jazz in a delightful set. Eight years later, a quartet emerges with just Shipp and Parker alongside Antipop, and the creative stakes get upped. Rather than two groups coming together in another attempt to bridge the gap between hip-hop and jazz, this is actually "hip-hop jazz"; no one cares whether the seams show -- they're supposed to -- it makes them easier to rip open toward the light, hence the title Knives from Heaven. Shipp and Parker have been playing together for over 30 years; they don't worry about meeting loops, grooves, or rhymes; they simply provide either fresh context or offer guidance and support. Priest's beats and electronics pace these tracks; often they sample the players but they're also canvassed from other sources. The rhythm section's live playing uses Priest's beats to further reveal the stridently inventive cadences in Beans' and Priest's poetry; the instrumental duo flashes melodically, pulses urgently, or finds new juxtapositional angles to push the rhymes even further toward the beat's ledge. Check "Half Amazed A/B," where the statement of truth is: "the real lyricism is now renew my vows." Shipp's shard-like chords and Parker's propulsion meet a a snare/hi-hat shuffle, a sampled two-note tenor sax line, and turntables; Priest and Beans converse about the language of rhyme. Shipp's as mysterious here as on his own records; he provides the space the sonic contrast calls for: he pulls his lines up short, repeats them with ever so slight tonal variations, or shifts them into extrapolated modes to suit and exert force. Check "Deadpan Stare," which gives way to the angular rhyme on "Rockers HiFi," which flows into the ambient synth and melodic piano textures of "Ornate," which give way to the crunchy, syncopated "Non Sexorexia," where Beans and Priest battle against language in relation to accepted cultural images as Shipp and Parker highlight their tension. Twenty tracks flow into 43 minutes here. The effect is both hypnotic and startling; hip-hop finds itself in a new land, but Shipp and Parker explore it with relish exemplified by the skittering, knotty future funk of "The Arabic Cowboy John Clint Ameer." After this, Beans' vocals are absent, as Knives from Heaven leans toward an expansion of vanguard jazz's rhythm collision with Priest. Like everything else on this recording, this is just as it should be. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Critic Reviews
    Down Beat (p.50) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Shipp's piano slips into the forefront, particularly on 'Twopiece,' full of stuttering rhythms and metallic momentum..."
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