Poet, writer, actor and musician, Saul Williams, graduated in acting and philosophy, comes back with his fourth studio album and the same colorful, vibrating and intense mixture of hip hop with noisy – industrialized – electronic and spices of Afro beats and tribal and rapping vocals. Saul Williams sounds distinguishing even for the alternative hip hop scene, he’s a strong character with attitude and he’s one of the most vocal critic of the so-called War on Terrorism.
I love the genius “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!” from 2007 produced by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and “Volcanic Sunlight” is more powerful and intense album even than his previous works.
Kicking out with “Look to the Sun”, the new album sounds more subtle, but still heavy, pulsing and nicely colored. “Patience” is dark and tensioned, “Explain My Heart” sounds like a rock anthem, while “Triumph” have a mysterious, darker glow. “Diagram” have cutting edge synths, shady vocals and the tension grows menacingly. “Girls Have More Fun” moves a little bit to a more danceable area, but don’t mistake Saul Williams to 50 Cent. “Give It Up” start up from noises and pumping drums, it have a penetrating dub aroma and hypnotizing pulse. “Dance” is just like James Brown start singing “Night Clubbing”. “Volcanic Sunlight” flows back to the dark side, the tension returns and even if the construction seems minimalist and spacy, it have dangerous edges. “Rocket” is a fine mixture of tenebrous and soft synths with a positive groove, it’s dark but still shiny. “Fall Up” is strange as its title, still it’s hip hop as it is. “Innocence” is another beautiful piece with mysterious shades and hypnotic harmonics. “New Day” close the set, it brings some light and hope. Or maybe not quite. It’s a beautiful album, intense and colorful, pulsing and vibrating as anything that Saul Williams does. I didn’t say a word about his poetry, I left it to discover it for yourself.