Words by Defron
Of all the voices in our scene today, Bastian Killjoy is one of the most identifiable and unique. And he’s been here for a minute.
In a time where many emcees pare back the quantity of their lyrics, Bastian wades adrift. With a rapid-fire poetic flow loaded with chaotic imagery, Bastian has always sounded like Aesop Rock with a twist of Banjo Patterson.
For his latest LP, Golly Gosh, fully produced by the man himself, Bastian has stepped forward sonically by allowing himself to throwback to his roots, taking notes from 90s R’n’B & Hip-Hop and drawing samples from the 70s and 80s. The result is Bastian’s strongest work to date. Combined with his usual standard of lyricism, this evolution has allowed Bastian to really test himself as a songwriter and composer, not just with content but with the lack thereof, letting space and atmosphere fill the gaps when his unrelenting poetics ease off.
Bastian uses the respite of his hooks and bridges to coax the listener into a lulled sense of delirium and in doing so has immensely stepped up his skills as a hook writer, sometimes blending them seamlessly into his barrage of lyrics, other times allowing a sparser refrain to contextualise a song’s concept. Either way the payout is rewarding.
The title track kicks this off with a gentle quavering vocal sample laying the canvas for Bastian’s assaulting lyrics. It’s here where the content starts hinting at a more mature and secure artist, who is at home offering more than just persona beside his dense metaphors and schizophrenic soliloquies.
Songs like Betsy illustrate how much he’s really offering himself on display in this collection of songs, weaving webs of insight and conscious streams alongside trickling keys and distant strings backed by a serenading vocal sample capped off with an atmospheric chorus. This is followed by the lead music video tune Creep which has a Busta Rhymes-esque hook with more sighing vocal samples texturing the sounds to stamp home how much Bastian has stepped up his song writing as both a rapper and producer without losing his signature cadence.
While the album keeps a consistent tone, Bastian isn't afraid to switch it up either. Whether it's the soothing but sombre melodies and subtle horns of standout Cactus or the crashing electronic synths and drum patterns of Chewie where a frustrated and embattled Bastian critiques the scene in a fierce but vulnerable fashion with a delicious conceptual chorus.
The album is driven home best by the final track, Wanita, my personal favourite, where the voice of a mature yet desperate and passionate artist stamps a crest of proud heartbreak on the sphere of transformation, but magically delivering a metamorphosis that hasn’t completely altered Bastian Killjoy as we already know him.
The state of modern music is one that favours the sonic and the aesthetic. You need a sound. You need a look. It needs to be different. But it needs to be familiar. Somefuckinghow, Bastian has managed to achieve both on Golly Gosh without even caring. Funnily enough, despite this album’s long anticipated arrival, the first listening already has me eagerly anticipating the sequel to see where Bastian takes his production and lyrical journey next. Golly Gosh; an appropriate title. It’s a phrase you will find yourself muttering after each listen of this transformative album.
Golly Gosh will be released on July 21st .
Pre-orders for CD's and digital downloads are now available.
On the release date we will be giving away a Golly Gosh CD to one of our Email newsletter subscribers.
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