Review by Ahnon Knomis
Having never heard a full length solo album by Deepspace5 crew member Sintax the Terrific before I was anxious to hear his familiar voice over exclusive Beat Rabbi production. Rabbi who is another Ds5 crew member is most notable in my ears for having a particularly striking dark and organic sound structure to his beats although is known to mix it up with a funkier sound given the artist he’s accompanying. Sintax, from what little I’ve heard of his solo efforts, also gravitates towards a similar sound and a collaboration between the two doesn’t seam like a striking contrast nor anything out of the ordinary. I knew what I would be in for – a darker more abstract underground sound then lets say a Ds5 Unique Just Like Everyone Else type of break-beat and lighter soulfulness. Already familiar with Sintax’s accolades through his consistent contributions on Ds5 crew albums and features on other members solo efforts like Sev for example… I was pretty much aware of what to expect.
For the unfamiliar, Beat Rabbi has an interesting style in his beats which often consist of time-stretched samples slowed down over organic kicks and snares and low tempo BPM’s. I get a feeling of intensity when I hear a Rabbi track like a sense of urgency by way of “hey! pay attention something big is coming!” type of style. You know that feeling when you’re watching a movie and the giant is chasing the kids and the kids are hiding waiting for the giant to catch up to them because there is nowhere to hide? Yup, that about sums up the feeling I get when I hear Rabbi contribute on a beat.
Sintax on the other hand, he has a very marketable and unique voice. His delivery is grammatically precise and similar to his peers Playdough and manChild but who’s voice is clearly recognizable amongst a crowd of featured artists on a crew track. That doesn’t always transcend to a solo album worthy of holding it’s own. Qoheleth however proves the combination of Rabbi’s production and Sintax’s rhyme saying abilities can hold it’s own successfully delivering a product worthy of checking out.
Qoheleth isn’t without it’s ups and downs however. With only 8 tracks deep and the lead-off track being a mere 1:56 intro-mental the 7 remaining tracks where somewhat hit or miss. As much as I dug the darker abstract production in 1997 even upwards of 2002… Now in a 2011 time-frame the style seams more throwback to a past era then modern progressive. Nevertheless the die-hard’s of a darker sound will have new material to snack-on with tracks like “Stephen Hawking At 10-34 Seconds”. Think a cross between the opening theme song of an 80’s alien invasion science fiction TV series meets mid to late 90’s underground hip-hop. Sound like a strange combination? If so, you’ve obviously never heard of these two and I advise taking a listen. Like it or not, the underground produces some of the most interesting combination of sounds.
Highlights for me are “Hot Pursuit” with Rabbi’s time-stretched baselines playing the back rift to Sintax’s melodically rhyme saying and Eastern sitars and other instruments which pace a dope compliment to both of these artists styles. “Giants Provoked” reminded me of a sound right out of the original Ds5 The Night We Called It A Day album which instantly brought me back to the first time I heard it and realized what good hip-hop was supposed to sound like. “Stillborn” was an interesting track and the third which I would find myself coming back to again. The track changes tempo and goes double-time on the breakdown and back again. On an otherwise slow record this made me take note and is not an easy task to pull off seamlessly.
My advice is if your a fan of Ds5, Sintax or Rabbi, or never heard of any of the above… and if you like darker production and solid rhyme saying then pick up Qoheleth and you’ll likely satisfy your musical tastes.
For fans of: Deepspace5, Mars ill, Cas Metah, Dirt (Shadow of the Locust), Wut Metaphysical, MC Noiz