Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Complete Return Of Omniscence, part 2

Okay, so we're back with our coverage of Omniscence's new material. After Sharp Objects in 2013, GRR released a second EP, 2014's The God Hour. It's structured pretty similar to the last EP in that there's an EP of new songs - this time bumped up to 6 - and then that's doubled to LP length with all new remixes. This time the production feels a little tougher, with more emphasis on the boom bap. It's a little more New York, with a slightly darker, more serious tone all around, although Omniscence is still kicking punchlines and clever, complex rhymes. And Debonair P's still on the production and scratch hooks.

So on the one hand, you've got "The Return (Of the Oneliner)," on this EP, but you've also got lyrics like, "while they pay for love, ours' genuine, And I see it each and every venue we in. Put your O's in the air and hold 'em there, then close your eyes as we hold a prayer for the soldiers. I ain't talkin' Uncle Sam; I'm talkin' bout the ones holdin' that contraband. I'm talkin' bout the ones workin' that graveyard, 'cause they couldn't make enough on their day jobs." It's close, but I expect heads will wind up preferring this to the previous EP.

Once again, you've two versions of the vinyl, 150 on a clear gold and black mix, and 150 on a red and blue splatter. And they both come in the very cool, full color picture cover. The EPs have all 6 of the new songs, and remixes of four songs. Then there's an extra limited orange cassette with all six songs plus remixes for all six songs (the vinyl is missing the "Purge" and "Show and Prove" remixes). This time there's no instrumentals, though, on vinyl or tape.

And we have to take a quick pit stop here to look at another EP that GRR put out at the same time as The God Hour: Truck Jewels and Filters by K-Hill. K-Hill, you may remember, was the other North Carolina MC who did a guest appearance on Omniscence's Sharp Objects. It's also produced entirely by Debonair P, though it's got a distinct feel from Omni's stuff. Omniscence does a guest appearance, though, so fans will want to check this out for that. I mean, heads should check it out anyway, because it's good. But even if you're only here for the Omniscnece, then completists will need this.

It's a four-track EP; and like the other EPs we've been looking at, it also features an alternate remix version of every song. I feel like Debonair's cutting is given a stronger emphasis on this release, which is definitely a plus. And there's also a guest verse by Prince Po I should point out. K-Hill himself actually has sounds a little more old school than Omni, with that kind of "super lyrical" backpacker-style flow. But you know, not the super nerdy sci-fi type; definitely more down to Earth. That's probably for the better, although one song about quasars might've been nice. haha

The K-Hill EP also comes in a dope picture cover, as you can see, and is available on 150 copies of clear (clear) and black vinyl, and 150 randomly colored copies. I got a random one and it turned out to be pink with blue streaks. All four songs and all four remixes are on the vinyl. There's no cassette this time around, but there is a CD, which also has all eight tracks, plus hidden bonus track, which is a second, alternate remix of "Whenever I Write."
So those EPs came out right at the end of 2014 or so. Now, in 2015, there's a double CD compilation album, also called The God Hour, that has the same cover and title, but it's actually a little misleading and selling itself short. The CDs actually sum up the original God Hour EP and the Sharp Objects EP and even the original "Raw Factor 2.0" 7". It It lists 22 tracks, but there's actually 2 unlisted bonus tracks on each CD for a total of 24.

It basically breaks down to the original version of every song from each EP, including "Raw Factor 2.0" on disc 1, and then the corresponding remix to each song on disc 2. That might be a little confusing, since the original version of "Raw Factor 2.0" wasn't on the Sharp Objects EP, it had a new remix. But on here, it's the original from the 7" single. Then, on disc 2, the version they use is the remix from the 7" B-side. But don't worry, you get that jazzy third remix from the EP, too, as one of the uncredited bonus tracks on disc 1.

The other bonus track on disc 1 is the bonus remix of "Ease My Mind" that was only on the cassette and instrumental EP.  Back over to disc 2, and the two extra tracks are the bonus remixes of "Letter To the Better" and "Welcome," the other ones that were only on the Sharp Objects cassette and instrumental EP. So that means, this CD set gives you the full "Raw Factor 2.0," Sharp Objects and The God Hour packages (well, minus the instrumentals), with every song and every single remix that was featured on any version of those releases. Believe me, I'm sitting here with a pen and notebook paper, writing down every single uncredited bonus track, in case anything was missing or exclusive to a particular release. I've got 'em all on my desk and I can confirm, it's all 100% there.

So obviously, if you're a vinyl head, you'll still prefer the three EPs, and some of us old school collectors will want the cassettes. But if you're happy with CDs, this release is way more than just The God Hour pressed on CD, it's a complete archive of everything Deb and Omniscence have collaborated on for GRR Records. Oh, except that bit on the K-Hill EP; you'll still have to get that separately.

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