Friday, December 15, 2023

Jeff's Best of 2023: #3 - Aesop Rock - Integrated Tech Solutions

Concept albums can be very hit-or-miss, but Aesop Rock's second straight solo concept record after Spirit World Field Guide is not only his best solo effort in some time, but is one of his best efforts period.

There's always a danger, when having a "technology and its impacts" piece of art in front of you, that it becomes incredibly strident, dated, and out-of-step (if not out of touch entirely - looking at you, The Circle by Dave Eggers). Aesop Rock puts that aside very early, setting up the aesthetic from the very start before the driving... everything of "Mindful Solutionism." From there it's classic Aesop Rock - "Pigeonometry" feels vast and elevated in its scope, "Kyanite Toothpick" having a battle rap feel, and even a more spoken-word piece like "On Failure" feels on brand and on point. In short? This album rules, and I'm glad it exists.

Songs of Note: "Mindful Solutionism," "Infinity Fill Goose Down," "Pigeonometry," "Kyanite Toothpick," "Salt and Pepper Squid," "All City Nerve Map"

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