Words About Music
Do me a favor. I’m going to type a phrase, and I want you to personify and imagine that phrase in your head. Ready?:
You’re probably imagining some weird, nerdy guy who spends his days talking about Schopenhauer and Schrödinger and Nietschze and solipsism and socialism and other -isms. And for the most part, you could be right. But what exactly does one do with a philosophy major? Become a professional philosopher? Write novels? Well the philosophy major I’ll be telling you about today decided to do something different.
Milo is a Wisconsin rapper and college student, who released his debut mixtape “I Wish My Brother Rob Was Here” in 2011. In 2012 he released “Milo Takes Baths,” a mixtape in which Milo raps over instrumentals from singer/producer Baths. At the very beginning of this year he released two excellent EPs “Things That Happen At Day” and “Things That Happen At Night” which were produced by two different producers. Well Milo is back for his fifth release, an EP/mixtape titled “Cavalcade” which was produced entirely by Riley Lake, the guy who produced the “Things That Happen At Day” mixtape.
If you enjoy wordy or conscious hip hop (see Aesop Rock, MF DOOM, Mos Def, etc.) then it’s a total shame you haven’t heard Milo yet, because he’s definitely making some of the most interesting hip hop I’ve ever heard. It is as humorous as it is sad, and as deep as it is poignant. And Milo’s lyrical talent only matures further on this 7-song release.
One of the standouts about “Cavalcade” is the textured, atmospheric, and overall odd beats from Riley Lake. Lake takes samples from James Blake, Dirty Projectors, Suzanne Vega, and America (the Neil Young soundalike band that did “The Horse With No Name”) and adds layer upon layer of awe-inspiring atmosphere to them, making them perfect to rap over. Milo chose to sample the band America specifically because they were his late grandfather’s favorite band.
As fun as “Cavalcade” is to listen to (the same goes for nearly any Milo release), it’s also interesting how amazingly complex some of the lyrics are. During this mixtape’s 30 minutes or so of running time, Milo makes sure to name check Emperor Palpatine, chiliagons, pyrite, pap smear, and Richard Dedekind. I don’t know what some of those things are, but I trust that he does. For the most part, “Cavalcade” is a mind-bending listen, with a few unfortunate features. I personally believe this would have worked better if Milo did all the verses himself and didn’t have any guests.
But whether you like the guest verses or not, “Cavalcade” is a dreamy labyrinth of a mixtape, and there isn’t really one song you can listen to by itself. Whether you like a specific song or not doesn’t matter, because it all flows together so well. Keep an eye on Milo, because he is not showing any signs of stopping, nor is he showing any sign of dumbing down his act. Which is definitely a good thing.
SCORE – 9.0
FAVORITE TRACKS – Geometry and Theology, Sophistry and Illusion (featuring Nocando), Besos, I Am Am, Ecclesiastes