Here's a weird, little collector's edition 7" single from a label that specialized in weird, little collector's edition 7" singles - including the Object Beings' debut I covered in a previous post. Weapon-Shaped Recordings was owned and run by Eric Steuer, music editor for Wired magazine. They later changed their tactic, signed some in-house artists (Substance Abuse, The Forest Fires Collective) and became a bit more of a "legit" label. But this, their first release, came out before all that started in 1999.
"Werd To Yer Motha-Ship" was the single off of The Shape Shifters' self-released (not on Weapon-Shaped) album, Planet Of the Shapes. It was limited to 550 copies (mine is #5) and came pressed on clear-orange vinyl in a regular paper sleeve and a folded piece of cardboard with the artwork on the front & back, and came with a little, yellow lyrics sheet. Few MCs are so well served by coming with printed lyrics, let me tell you, then Circus, who provides all the raps on this single. It's a dope track, produced by the late DJ Rob One and Mr. Fung (an alias of Shape Shifters crew member Mek One), featuring a popping beat underneath a really addictive bassline and a plethora of bizarre sounds and samples. It's one of Circus's best flows, with just ill freestyle lyrics, drifting from "MCs step off" into crazed, sci-fi nonsense and back again.
It's followed by a brief instrumental interlude produced by Transducer and entitled, "Transcend & Evolve," with a vocal sample of an exchange between Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson's characters in Easy Rider discussing the people of Venus, "Why don't they reveal themselves to us is because if they did it would cause a general panic. Now, I mean, we still have leaders upon whom we rely for the release of this information. These leaders have decided to repress this information because of the tremendous shock that it would cause to our antiquated systems. ... So now the 'Nooshins are meeting with people in all walks of life in an advisory capacity. For once, man will have a god-like control over his own destiny. He will have a chance to transcend and to evolve with some equality for all."
The B-side, "Happy Birthday Nimrod" was originally an exclusive, but later found itself on the Shifters' double album, Know Future. It's a crazy Circus solo joint, co-produced by Circus and Transducer, with a grungy guitar loop, keys by Nico "the Funky Greek," and a crazy patchwork of weird sound effects, being cut up by Actual Jae L.A. over a slow rolling beat. The lyrics are just Circus ranting insanely to the beat; here's an excerpt (note: the punctuation is how he's written it on the lyrics sheet):
"ZOG IS COMING SOON !!! THAT'S WHY WE GOTS TA HURRY HOME
BY 11:30 P.M....... SO I CAN BE DECEIVED NY MY T.V.
HOW THE WORLD WILL BEGIN ???
IN 1997 ? ONLY 42% OF THE THE UPS.PEOPLE ........ VOTED FOR THE DEVIL !!!
FOR WHAT SHALL MONKEYS DO , WITHOUT JET PACKS OR SOLAR POWER?!
YOU ARE ALL THE SAME... YOU ARE ALL THE SAME.... YOU ARE ALL ON RITALIN INDIGNANT WITH ? FEELINGS OF ABANDONMENT
READING LEVEL WELL ... RUB STICKS ?? TO START A FIRE .... 'CAUSE
ALL THE USED UP LIGHTERS ? ARE BROKEN ... LAYING IN THE GUTTER
CLEAN UP ON AISLE SEVEN !!
THERE IS A ROBOT ... AND A CAVEMAN ... HAVING A FIST FIGHT
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TARGET
PREESTABLISHED SOCIAL SKILLS .... OF GREED AND VIOLENCE !?!?
NOW THE TIME HAS COME !!!! FOR YOU TO BUST A MOVE !!!!!!!!
AND RESERVE YOUR VISIT TO THE * GOD MACHINE *
SHIT IN THE URINAL ..... OR NAME THE CAT ROVER
NOW YOU'VE GONE AND DONE IT !!
THEY HAVE COME TO TRY & FIT US WITH ???? RESTRAINING BOLTS
AS BUG EYED ANGELS OF A SUBSTITUTE GOD ARRIVE
TO WITNESS THE UNVEILING OF THE 7th CHOCODILE ..... WHILE ?
PEOPLE GATHERED THEIR MOST VALUABLE ITEMS ... FOR THE ARRIVAL ?!
OF THE FLYING SAUCER !!!!!!!!"
...And that's just a small sample of this crazy rant of a song, co-written by Circus * the Robot Impostor * 1997 (as he credits himself here in the liner notes), Jovian * MC Jackalope * and Sean Steele. It also plays backwards (i.e. you put the needle closest to the label and it plays to the outer rim - so be ready to grab the needle at the end before it skids around your player and breaks!).
So, all of the music on this (which was all recorded on an analog Tascam 8 track by the way) has now seen wider release, but you can't say this isn't still a pretty neat collector's item.
Now, the Shifters have a myspace, naturally; as does Circus... in fact, he used to do a lot of blogging on his, but has since deleted it all after a big, messy thing with his ex-wife in the comments. :/ I'm not sure what's next for the Shifters - they seem mainly to be focussing on their solo projects; and Circus hasn't announced anything in a while. I don't know about you, but I'm very ready for some new Circus material. ...And RadioInactive, too, for that matter. What's he been up to?