June 23, 2009

Serengeti & Polyphonic

Chicago, IL
Produced, engineered and recorded by Polyphonic the Verbose at Waheed’s Room in Chicago | Mastered by Mike Wells Mastering

Folowing their 2007 release, Don’t Give Up, dynamic duo Serengeti & Polyphonic (aka David Cohn and Will Freyman, respectively) have rapidly gained recognition in hometown Chicago and beyond for their ambient, beat-laced avant-rap with a social conscience. Now the boys’ follow-up sophomore album, Terradactyl, continues to combine the best of lyricist Serengeti’s wry words with producer Polyphonic’s tasteful, original beats.

Lead track “Bon Voyage” steps in on cold, staccato synths that transition to shimmering baroque that trickles down Serengeti’s understated vocalization like a rain shower. “My Patriotism” passes through Parisian-style street jazz with appropriately playful corresponding lyrics and “Playing in Subway Stations” runs melancholy folk throughout electrode-spiked drip-castle synth texture. “My Negativity” is a tiptoe arrangement of rhythmically picked strings, rounded acoustic guitar, and the slightest hint of video game synths. The accompaniment of “Steroids” clicks along simply – an understated arrangement allowing Geti’s quickly issued lyrics to come across clearly. By the end of the song, he is whispering sweet nothings into the listener’s ear: “Those who don’t juice, bleed.”

Meanwhile, lyrics take a break on “La La Lala,” which centers around a childlike melody sung darkly against a cool beat; sinister new wave filtered through hip-hop. Crinkly bass and twinkling synths cushion Serengeti while he races alongside Polyphonic’s warbling, glitchy production on “Move!” “Patiently” is another starry-eyed bass beat, rising to a grandly symphonic altitude and then unraveling decidedly into a distant melody. Uninhibited by hip-hop norms, Serengeti & Polyphonic play freely in their own musical playground, and the explorative work that follows is as insightful as it is original. (Anticon)

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