Phat beats from Princeton

De Rerum - Matisyahu eat your heart out

Some of you might know Elliot Cole as a composer of concert music, Contributing Editor here at Sequenza 21, or as a doctoral student at Princeton. But do you know Cole as a … rapper?

De Rerum, Elliot’s debut EP as a fast-talking MC, under the project moniker Oracle Hysterical, tackles lofty subject matter. According to Cole, “It’s a verse history of the world as I understand it (to c.2000BCE, after which, I discovered, history is mostly redundant), and also a general synthesis of, well, most every (nonfiction) book I’ve read in the last decade.”

The EP is available for free download via his website. If you enjoy this taste of Oracle Hysterical, you can check out their performance of a retelling of the Rake’s Progress alongside the Metropolis Ensemble at the MATA festival in NYC on May 12.

MP3:01 The Angle


Serengeti and Polyphonic


Anticon Records


Both from Chicago, rapper Serengeti and DJ Polyphonic invest their second full length recorded collaboration with a plethora of stylistic approaches. Hip hop, electronica, and elements of world music create a hybridized music, melding in varied, often stirring ways.

For example, on “Bon Voyage” there is a triangulated give and take between synthetic elements, a beat template imbued with pitched percussion and interlocking rhythmic figures, and Serengeti’s urban poetics. “My Negativity” matches downtempo electronica with echoing repetitions of the title lyric. “Cleveland” allows Polyphonic to take the lead, creating an evocative synth suite on which Seregeti’s vocals take on a more ornamental role.

The duo doesn’t eschew accessibility – “La Lala” features winsome keyboard riffs and an appealing mixture of sung vocals and clipped rapping. But often, the choices of instrumentation underscore the lyrics’ visceral worldview. For instance, reptilian squawks and an ominous backbeat give “My Patriotism” an appropriately confrontational ambience. Meanwhile, “Playing in Subway Stations” uses a swath of layered rhythms to create an apt sonic approximation of commuters’ hurly burly. Far from prehistoric, Terradactyl is positively cutting edge music-making.

You can hear more of S&P at their MySpace page. RCRDLBL also has a page devoted to the group, including a downloadable remix of the song “2 Times 2.”