Dusted Reviews

Busdriver, Radioinactive with Daedelus - The Weather

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Busdriver, Radioinactive with Daedelus

Album: The Weather

Label: Mush

Review date: Mar. 27, 2003

Clash of the Titans

Three colorful bolts of lightning strike across the cover of The Weather, serving as a dual metaphor for the album’s title and the three distinct participants aspiring to unite within. It’s an album chock full of free association, wacky metaphors, beats realized through children’s toys and household appliances, nursery rhymes, distorted facades, whistling and gargling solos (seriously), and an abundance of excess, all done with no regrets. If none of this scares you, then read on. To put it simply, The Weather is a unique experience, one that further distorts current notions of hip hop music and its direction, but what else can you expect from the trio of Busdriver, Radioinactive, and producer Daedelus?

To understand exactly what The Weather is trying to achieve, it’s important to look at the two primaries in Busdriver and Radioinactive. They have been hailed as two of L.A.’s pioneers of leftfield emceeing, and their finest works, Busdriver’s Memoirs of an Elephant Man and Radioinactive’s Pyramidi, were both incredibly harsh slabs of unorthodox music that people dared to call hip hop, but were still a wingspan away from each other in terms of their creative scope. The Weather sees them trying to feed off each other’s creative differences – where one’s weakness lies the other’s strength, or so it’s thought. The problem throughout most of the album is that their energies are so distant that the collaboration ultimately feels alienated and stale, and when they attempt to blend their styles, they’re both traveling at such high intensities that they don’t have enough leeway to meet head on. The results are often disappointing.

But The Weather is still certainly not void of amazing pieces. “Carl Weathers” is one of the album’s more incredible moments, a track which starts off in twang and develops into a steady emo-hop style beat. It’s an exercise in free-for-all as Busdriver and Radioinactive trade rapid fire verses, occasionally coming together in awkward fashion, but when the groove finally settles, it’s absolutely jaw dropping (at which point the included lyric sheet will undoubtedly be needed). Even the initially annoying “Fine for a Robot” yields ephemeral pleasures, which sees Busdriver doing his best Sinatra impersonation and Radioinactive in conventional rap mode. Here their efforts avoid collision, and the gargling solo at the track’s end is something that everyone will want to check out.

So perhaps Daedelus makes the most memorable contributions on The Weather, a relative newcomer to hip hop, but somewhat of a musical prodigy given the fact that he’s signed to Scott Heron’s Eastern Development. His production is delicately crafted, weaving stories that will likely go unnoticed beneath the two in the spotlight above, but when given the chance to shine, he is a master of moments. Finely tuned segments float through one another, one segueing into the next, bpms constantly shifting, and sometimes falling out all together to spontaneously reveal those underneath. It is an exciting and interesting endeavor, one that adds a significant amount of flavor to the project. Take his instrumental offering “Break for 2300”, for example, starting with a typical boom bap section backed by a psychedelic horn, soon transforming into an arithmetic drum beat accompanied by paranoiac sounds only to shift back to its slightly energized predecessor.

With such eclectic talent, it’s hard to imagine why The Weather wouldn’t work, because similar undertakings have attempted and succeeded. Just take Greenthink’s Blindfold for example, a project strikingly similar in composition. Here we have two enigmatic emcees/poets in Dose One and Why? left to roam and play amongst a field of non-conventional production. Even the album’s title conjures similar conceptual goals as The Weather, but it works so much better. Dose’s nasally voice serves as the perfect counter to Why?’s comparatively bassy undertones, and when the two coalesce, the outcome is a surprisingly addictive and sometimes beautiful harmony. Rarely do Busdriver and Radioinactive reach this point, and, needless to say, Dose and Why? can ride a beat better than either of them. Greenthink blindly fire through the album’s various sections armed with alien dialect, and, even if its blueprint sounds rooted in nonsense, you can’t help but feel that everything falls in the right place. On The Weather, there’s more clashing.

However, Blindfold is ultimately an unfair comparison to pit The Weather against. It is what it is – a highly creative assortment of tracks that teeter upon synchronicity throughout the album’s one hour duration. There are definitely moments of brilliance for each of the three players, but when their respective moments of genius successfully merge, it only tends to be marred by the inconsistent blotches of less spectacular moments. It’s all unfortunate given what The Weather could have and should have been, but in all honesty, it seems to me like Busdriver, Radioinactive, and Daedelus’ full promise will likely be reached individually rather than through any future collaborative permutation.

By Brian Ho

Read More

View all articles by Brian Ho

Find out more about Mush

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.