Subtle’s debut album on Lex is a great introduction to this West-coast band composed of electronic and live drums, electric cello, samplers, guitars, wind instruments, synths and Doseone’s sharp, free-flowing vocals. Acoustic instrumentation veers from gentle scene-setting to full-on tracks like The Long Vain Of The Law.
Though the band is made up of 6 musicians, all tracks on this album were written by Doseone and Jel, so there’s a similarity to their output as Themselves and cLOUDEAD, however these themes are expressed with far more epic instrumentation here.
“Like Outkast, Subtle are one of the very few acts talking hip hop in a genuinely new and unexpected direction.” 4/5 Q
“Doseone’s enervated, darkish vocal style belies the fast-cut fury of his rapping, backed by an ever-morphing backbeat of guitars, keyboards, orchestral instruments, dub breaks and luminous moments amid the wreckage.” 4/5 Uncut
“A New White will thrill those drawn to imaginative and variable beat patterns, moody, heavily textured soundscapes and cranky vocals that defy the the distinctions between rap, speech and singing. Damaged, delicate, disorientating and damned fine.” Time Out
“In the lyrical agility and the diverse portfolio of cultural referents, studio tricknology and sheer sense of play with the degraded hip hop format, they are in a league of their own… These songs contain the flotsam of a life lived in a confusing phase, swept up and deposited in cabinets of curiosities, like Joseph Cornell boxes in which all manner of obtuse observations, fragmentary images, scraps of notes, talismanic cast-off junk and discarded letters are meticulously arranged. Rap’s future is… rapt.” The Wire
“Drucker and Logan infuse their project with an almost psychedelic sensibility, it’s less hip hop than mood music… one of the warmest examples of electronic music with heart.” XLR8R
“Doseone continues his mission to bring gonzoid hip hop to the world with this project… drones combine with glitchy beats, beaten-up guitar and electric cello to mesmerising effect.” The Observer
“In “The Book of Sand”, Borges imagined a book with an infinite number of constantly rearranging pages. The old metaphysician always dreamt of impossible libraries containing the sum total of language, or points in space that enclosed everything in the universe simultaneously. If he were alive today, I like to think he’d find a musical facsimile of his coveted Aleph in Doseone’s bottomless oeuvre.” Pitchfork (seriously)
I ♥ L.A.
The Long Vein Of The Law
Red, White & Blonde