Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mind Tricks the Body, Body Thinks the Mind's Crazy

Sorry it's been a little long since the last post... I've been working hard on the dot com. I'm happy to say that all of the broken images on my discography pages are now finally fixed - many with brand new, better pictures and logos. Also some discographies have been updated, and I'm starting to add cross-links back to matching blog articles... part of my long-term plan to make it all more interconnected and useful. It took a lot longer than you'd think it would, but I was so sick of having broken x's on my site, so I just plowed through and basically did nothing else until it was done. There are still some graphics I'd like to update to higher quality ones (some date as far back as the 90's, after all, when we were all new to the internet and nobody knew WTF we were doing), and I have plenty more updating and cross-linking to go, but it's a crap-ton better than it was. And I'm now back to doing regular stuff like my blog posts and videos. :)

In 2002, Jedi Mind Tricks' debut (and best) album, The Psycho-Social, Chemical, Biological, And Electro-Magnetic Manipulation Of Human Consciousness, was rereleased on CD. Previously, it was a vinyl-only release on JMT's own label, Superegular. But now they were on a comparatively bigger label, and it was time for this rare, underground record to get a wide CD release. To sweeten the deal, they included a bunch of bonus tracks. I already owned the vinyl, but those extra tracks had me on the hook... I might have to get the 2002 version, too.

But if I still had any doubts, I could thank the great Sandbox/HipHopSite war for pushing me over the edge. Since they were in such direct competition, they were constantly trying to one-up each other. And that often meant free posters, t-shirts, and other little bonuses when you pre-ordered the big event (in underground terms) albums from them. Occasionally, that even meant exclusive musical releases, which trumps the Hell out of swag. And in this case, HipHopSite came with the bonus CD, a three-track CDS, now a sweet collectors' item.

Let's cover the less compelling tracks first. See, Amber Probe was their debut EP, and some of the songs from that EP carried over to the subsequent album. But it still had some exclusives. This 2002 rerelease included one more of the Amber Probe's exclusive songs, leaving really just one exclusive (not counting instrumentals) to the EP: the original version of "Neva Antiquated." So, that's on here.

"Neva Antiquated" is, ironically, pretty antiquated. Stoupe's production famously involves really lush, vivid soundscapes. But this is the song that broke JMT: a superficially simple track dominated by a very short, repetitive sample that sounds like it's taken from sone ancient educational program about science. But damn it, it's frustratingly catchy. And the sparseness is perfect for directing attention to the MCs, who the spit crazy, complex rhymes that blew everybody's minds in 1996. Oh, and I said "superficially simple," because there's actually a lot of subtle elements and change-ups through-out the instrumental. If I just played it for you once, and asked you to describe it, you might say, "oh, it's just a little boop boop be boop" loop played over a drum pattern, but actually there's all kinds of sound effects and strange samples mixed in there, not to mention a nice gritty bassline that keeps the whole song moving forward.

So we've got that, but that's not so exciting since fans already had it on the Amber Probe EP. It's a little handy to have a CD version of it, I guess; especially since we're getting CD versions of all the other tracks; but that's about it. And next we have the Instrumental version of that song, which was also on the EP. And like the EP version, it's still a scant, seventy-one second truncated version. Fine as a little extra bonus, but really nothing to get excited about.

But the this song (actually the first in sequence) is the interesting one. It's an exclusive, still never otherwise released track called "Judge Wisely." Now, before anyone gets too excited, it's not as compelling as another 1997 JMT track. It's sort of just a freestyle. I mean, it's mastered better than your average over-the-radio freestyle; but it's just a single verse over a stolen instrumental. But it's the perfect instrumental (Gza's "4th Chamber"), and Icon sounds great over it. It's "off the dome," as he specifies before he starts spitting, but he's clearly stringing together a bunch of preconceived rhymes in there. But that's okay by me - it makes the finished track a lot tighter than him fumbling around for awkward words to finish his lines.

So, yeah, it's not like an OMG Epic Lost Masterpiece. But it does make for a genuinely cool little disc worth owning. It's probably awfully hard to find now, but when you do come across it, it'll probably be sitting on a 99 cent bin or something. So scoop it up and relive the days when Jedi Mind Tricks were a really impressive group.

No comments:

Post a Comment