Have you ever wished hip-hop DJs sampled more Django Reinhardt records? Have you ever wished Tom Waits would release a straight-up Spoken Word record? If so, Reyjavik, Iceland's Epic Rain will bewitch you, with their gorgeous, haunting, and ethereal blend of dark cabaret, folk, sampling, and spoken word.
Epic Rain is made up of 2 MCs, and one DJ, who create surreal, romantic, circus-like soundscapes, over which a rugged male voice spins sinister stream-of-consciousness late-night tales. Epic Rain clearly love Tom Waits, and craft a similar blend of romantic noir and sideshow strangeness. Epic Rain, however, take their love of Tom Waits' weird Americana as a leaping off point, an inspiration.
Most notably, are the lyrics, which are mostly delivered in a spoken sing-song, that almost puts this record in the category of spoken-word. The lyrics are even more poetic and open to interpretation than Waits', which, for all their bizareness, still tend to be straight-ahead narratives. Somber Air is the hip-hop equivalent of a magical realist novel. People sit alone, for no reason, in empty rooms ("Somber Air"), beggars become angels ("King Of Beggars"), while a yellow paper moon hangs from a skeletal tree ("Dancing With Daggers").
It was rather hard to find concrete information on this record, but I think I read somewhere that the music is entirely made of samples, over which the stories are built. The fact that it's hard to tell whether the romantic '50s guitars, the soaring gypsy jazz violins, the tremulous musical saws are recorded or sampled make it all that much more compelling, and it's exquisitely put together, whichever is the case. It is also striking that the vocals were composed after the music, which is unusual for hip-hop. Makes for an organic, strange, and otherworldly experience, with the lyricist going places no other wordsmith dares to tread.
Epic Rain may be inspired by hip-hop, but i hope hip-hop gets influenced by Somber Air. There's so much that can be done with the combination of stories, samples, and original recordings, it's a shame so many rappers stick so close to tired gangsta tropes. Epic Rain are truly being themselves, and breaking new ground. Hip-hop influenced music that mentions "slow dancing to Strauss" (on my personal favorite track "Nowhere Street"), and gets compared to Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, is truly taking it to the next level.
Epic Rain have been blowing festival audiences away across Europe for a couple of years. With Somber Air, it feels like they're primed to explode. Gorgeous music, exquisitely put together, with infinite care and craft. The air is thick with the promise of thunder, while love letters drown in shallow puddles. Epic Rain are making the world a stranger, more sinister, and more magical place, full of possibilities. Fans of poetry, and low-key jazz, buy this immediately.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook