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Curse Ov Dialect - Lost in the Real Sky

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Artist: Curse Ov Dialect

Album: Lost in the Real Sky

Label: Mush

Review date: Jun. 24, 2003

Multicultural Experience

The sounds from Lost in the Real Sky are audible all the way from Curse Ov Dialect’s native Melbourne, Australia, not because the music is loud, but because it’s so unique. Even in today’s emo-hop saturated climate, where things are being pushed toward entirely new genres, creativity and innovation are not necessarily plentiful. Sure you can sound weird and make wacky beats, but there are times when creativity in hip hop is questioned by its intentions – creativity for creativity’s sake. There are no such questions on Lost in the Real Sky, a wonderfully imagined album that successfully borrows and reinterprets sounds from all facets of music and culture, creatively but still with enough energy and bounce for frequent neck exercise.

The first track pinpoints the exact inspiration for such an ambitious project with a chorus that asks: “Baby, how’d we ever get this way?” The production, a chore which is shared by group members Raceless, Vulk Makedonski, Aturungi, August the 2nd, and Dj Paso Bionic, is a speedy concoction of basic piano riff and sharp clicks and chatters, setting the stage for a flurry of vocal stylings. The emceeing is fast paced and rigid, some comparative to Dose One or Busdriver, while others hold similarities to MC Paul Barman or Jonathan Hoth from Toth.

Upon first listen, Lost may sound a lot like Mush’s recently released hybrid project by Busdriver, Radioinactive, and Daedelus, only Curse Ov Dialect brings a much more natural and colorful experience. This becomes case and point with “All Cultures” which opens with Raceless saying that “alienation and xenophobia become the disease of the nation, while infestation of segregation in turn breed hesitation.” As if you needed an emccee named Raceless to tell this to you, each member further feeds off this topic with growing passion and diversity. The production is equally challenging, often uniting different world sounds rather than sticking with one formula. Here, the group borrows East Asian sitars while the united chorus of “all cultures, all together” rings like a respectful interpretation of a tribal chant. Other tracks are similar in their borrowing of distinct global sounds while still staying true to the boom-bap aesthetic, and that becomes an impressive feat given the rather chaotic nature of their creations.

The album continues to become even closer knit in Curse’s quest for multicultural values, especially with tracks like “Vertical Ascension” and “Multicultural Markets.” The end of the album tends to take a turn for the darker, reflecting on the perpetually grim state of our society despite the group’s overall positive view. From the Portishead ambience on “Hidden Fantasy,” to the morbidly haunting “If I Die” to the eerie soundscapes of “Water Thicker Than Blood,” the closing numbers seal the project’s conceptual goals at the same time presenting a level of foreshadowing for the future. Lost in the Real Sky is far from perfect, but is an impressive debut coming from this unique group of free thinkers and progressive writers. Not only is it a creative achievement from a sonic standpoint, but it truly is one of the most ‘feel good’ albums in recent memory.

By Brian Ho

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