Influenced by horror movies, heavy metal and punk, Melbourne born emcee Ivens has finally stepped up with his debut album Sounds To Expire To. A highly anticipated debut album, produced by friend Plutonic Lab, Sounds To Expire To is an experimental look into a genre of Hip Hop that still remains stalking within the shadows. An album that forces its listeners to step outside of their comfort zone and into the hellfire of Iven’s content.
The album phases right into a sonic symphony of bleeps, beat and flow with Intro, a small but effective speed setter that nicely warps you into the second track The 9th letter which is easily one of the highlights of the album. Plutonic Lab offers a stylish electronic number to compliment Iven’s unending lyrical barrage of dark cryptic lines. What appeals the most about Ivens content is it isn’t monologues of cheesy cliche poems but rather a dark trip into a sinister landscape of cryptic ciphers and macabre mind states.
In fact as your ears are nailed to the seductive underbelly of the album you start to realise that Sounds To Expire To is more like a dark horror movie soundtrack than anything else. With lines gruesome at times and the delivery quick, it can be hard to automatically pick up the intelligent perceptions that Ivens is actually spitting. I think that this is one of the greatest failures of the album. Ivens genuinely has an amazing unique ability in his content and it becomes inaudible at times as is the case with One Last Trip. I enjoyed the beat and the cuts but I had to listen to the track quite a few times to get everything that Ivens was saying.
Three ambient tracks lie within the album which I felt was a dangerous move that could have been construed as filler, however by the end of the album it is obvious that this isn’t the case and that the ambience plays a vital role in creating the Hitchcock-like mood.
Ivens releases the darkness to Plutonic Lab’s fire on the The Pulse, and the result is a fantastic music noir piece that stood out as one of my favourite tracks. Easily the best chorus of the album in terms of a clear distinction between chorus and verse and a nice structure of bars to beat. Brood Of Five feat 13th Son, Brass, Fame and Nick Sweepah is by far the highlight of the album though. The production is unbelievably strong with Plutonic Lab serving up why he is the king with a bloodthirsty rhythm for the 5 artists to slay. This was the track for me that kept me coming back to the album again and again.
I didn’t want to comment too much on Iven’s accent as I feel that a lot of people would focus solely on this point when listening to the album. Ivens has a definite American twinge which importantly, unlike others, does not detract from his music. Personally I am a huge believer in representing where you are from proudly, however by the same token it is my honest belief that Ivens has put his heart, body and soul into the making of this album for the Australian industry.
Sounds To Expire To is like nothing I have heard in recent times. It once again shows the mastery of Plutonic Lab but more importantly Melbourne man Ivens serves up a dark debut that pushes the boundaries of Australian Hip hop. With heavy influences from a vast majority of music genres it doesn’t try to be like anything else and for that deserves a certain level of respect. Ivens isn’t going anywhere…whether its on stage with Muph n Plutonic or blessing it solo there is no doubt he will continue to bring something different. I recommend the album but I also feel it will take a while for the regular listener to truly appreciate Iven’s writing abilities and for Ivens to adapt his talent to the recording studio.
[alert type=blue ]This article was written for ozhiphop.com by contributor Perception (RhymeSchematiks). [/alert]