Experimental hip hop group clipping. go where few rap crews have gone before with their stunning sophomore album Splendor & Misery.
This dystopian concept record tells the story of a slave named Cargo 2331, trapped on a transport ship in the depths of outer space and searching for a way home. It is a dense, cerebral release featuring hyper-literate lyrics, arresting sound design, and a remarkable commitment to a cohesive, cinematic narrative throughout its compact 37-minute run time.
Rapper Daveed Diggs pulls double duty portraying both 2331, the lone survivor of a slave revolt aboard the ship, and the ship’s artificial computer intelligence system who records and monitors 2331’s actions. On “The Breach”, Diggs sets the stage with a rapid-fire delivery about 2331’s present condition by the AI system before switching to 2331’s perspective on the disorienting “All Black” which details the freed slave’s battle with cabin fever and his own slowly disintegrating sanity.
Producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes use a staggering library of samples and engineering trickery to create a bleak, claustrophobic soundscape with instrumentation capturing the hissing, groaning, and clanking of a ship adrift in space. While it's certainly not an accessible hip-hop record in a traditional sense, Splendor & Misery tells a compelling science fiction narrative within a harrowing, unforgettable listening experience.
Poems to Walk Us Through Our Own Minds
Spending too much time in your own head? Come venture into someone else’s for a while
Journey through the world and into the mind of Caylin Capra-Thomas through her 2017 poetry collection Inside My Electric City. This collection causes you to pull out the things you might not want to, examine them under the light, and understand their place in your life. It’s absolute, understanding, and accepting.
The front cover—a girl dancing in a field in delicate blue dress, her head removed and replaced with a trail of smoke—drives us into 31 pages of self-discovery.
Combined in a 5.5 by 6.5 inch book, the pieces are short enough to be written down and slipped in your pocket, meant to be carried with us throughout the day.
Right in the middle, on page 15, we find that moment when it feels like everything would be better off differently. She invites us into emotional hell with the piece, “Sometimes the only remedy.” The piece continues: “is to burn everything the fuck down / because the creature cries / like an infant & hides within / our walls.”
Each of the piece’s titles serve as each free verse poem’s beginning, walking us through moments in time where we’ve learned more about ourselves. Sometimes, more than we’d care to know.
The collection ends on a piece of realization that’s a bit harder to swallow: “Have taken mouthfuls / of the river that soaked you / to water my jasmine.”
New beginnings, this collection reminds us, do not always come easy. You can grab a digital version of the book here.
Fear, Fandom, and the Horror Game Horror Film You Never Knew You Needed
“You have 5 lives. Play carefully.”
From director Michelle Iannantuono comes an imaginative tale about the limits of morality told through the toxicities of streaming culture.
Octopunk Media’s first feature film Livescream takes a clever approach to the found footage horror genre, limiting the entire narrative to a webcam and first person POV video game. Cleverly referencing touchstone horror games of the last decade, like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Alien: Isolation, Ianntuono takes you on a nail-biting journey through one man’s desperate struggle to save his fans. (For an extra dose of adrenaline, try watching on your computer!)
At the risk of giving too much away, the story follows Scott (Gunnar Willis), a small-time livestreamer unwillingly thrust into the roles of judge, jury, and executioner when the cheap game he’s playing suddenly takes control of the stream.
With a gripping solo performance from Willis and a masterful recreation of the streaming environment, Livescream is sure to delight fans of horror and video games alike. And with a sequel in the works, now is a perfect time to catch up on the original film.
Livescream is available for streaming on Amazon Prime. For updates on the sequel, follow Iannantuono on Twitter.