This is the 9th full-length album from New York emcee/producer Aesop Rock. Universally revered for his massive vocabulary, the man has put out a handful of underground hip hop essentials throughout the decades whether it be his solo catalogue or his membership of groups like Hail Mary Mallon or Malibu Ken. Last we heard from him was Spirit World Field Guide & now with the 1-year anniversary of that coming up over the weekend, long-time collaborator Blockhead is being brought in to produce Garbology from start to finish.
After the “Only Picture” intro, the first song “Jazz Hands” is a cloudy kickoff to the album serving as a “love note to the fuck show” whereas “Wolf Piss” grimly talks about making motherfuckers disappear if they trip the wrong light. “Legerdemain” goes into a more funkier route saying he went home different leading into the tuba, boom bap infused “Difficult” finds him admittedly bugging.
Meanwhile on “All the Smartest People”, we have Aesop over a drumless instrumental telling listeners that the titular type he knows personally are paranoid just before the dusty “Oh Fudge” talks about metaphorically having no bones. “More Cycles” weaves in some synthesizers saying he doesn’t ever blink first, but then “Flamingo Pink” ominously calls out his idols as cons.
Lice reunites for the psychedelic “All Day Breakfast” reminding everyone of how well they mesh with each other whereas “Fizz” groovily talks about a dude being a lame. The song “That’s Not a Wizard” incorporates some pianos speaking on bare-witnessing the second first step while the penultimate track “The Sea” has a more scrubbier vibe talking about how it all falls below. “Abandoned Malls” closes out the album on a more dramatic note talking about the death of his close friend Kurt Hayashi.
Blockhead has produced some of the best songs of Aes’ career, so it was only a matter of time that they came together for an entire album & it’s exactly how I imagined it to be. The whole concept of examining material discarded by a society to see what it really means is well-thought out & as talented as he is behind the boards, it’s nice to see him take it back to basics.