Sometimes things are a little odd at Merchants of Air and this review is a pretty good example. For a website that has mostly reviewed post rock, black metal and related genres, it's quite surprising that the first band we reviewed two releases for is the international experimental hip-hop duo Fujako. But, as you know, we're open to a lot of things and we loved the predecessor 'Soul Buzz'. So yes, we're happy to review 'Exobell', their newest e.p. and yes, we love this one too, though we liked 'Soul Buzz' a little bit more.
'Exobell' will be available on cassette, double 7" vinyl or digitally through their bandcamp page. It contains eight tracks between 1.17 and 6.25 minutes. Once again it's a very original approach to rap and hip hop, maybe a bit more obtrusive than 'Soul Buzz'. While 'Soul Buzz' was mostly dub-loaded, Fujako seems to strip down their own sound and focus a lot more on beats, soundscapes, samples and raps. 'Exobell', a self invented word, has become a very deviant, raw and pushy e.p. that has a lot of energy. Listeners who get sucked into the freakish mutant world Fujako creates need that energy to find a way out, to find a save haven.
So no, 'Exobell' is not a happy little hip hop effort. It's a cold, hard slap in the face, driven on devious beats and dreary rhythms. With this e.p. Fujako succeeds in creating a futuristic and often epic sound that is both bleak and familiar. The omnipresent vocals of Black Saturn add a lot of power to this bizarre atmosphere. Sometimes they tend to overpower the already vigorous music like in "Equations", an industrial freak of a song. On other occasions distortion seems to take over and completely finish you off.
So do not listen to this when you are doing other stuff. Fujako will consume all your attention and leave you behind desorientated and frightened. But if you like heavy beats, haunting atmospheres and a lot of experimentation, this just might be your thing. Besides, the digital version is a 'name your price' download, so why not give it a shot...