Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Owl Hours an imperfect affair

November 3, 2009

I have never heard of either Awol One or Factor before listening to their collaboration Owl Hours. Awol One, the MC, and Factor, a producer/dj, look like they have released a promising release with Xzibit backing Owl Hours as executive producer, and features from the likes of Xzibit and Aesop Rock. At spots the LP shines, but there are a lot of trouble spots.

The good about Owl Hours is Factors broad, eclectic production. The songs flow seamlessly together, but the variety of styles found when listening to Owl Hours is impressive. From the grungy boom-bap sound of “glamorous drunk” to the laid-back jazzy groove of “Darkness”, Owl Hours shows the scope of a competent producer.

With sound production, it seems that Owl Hours would be perfect, but it isn’t. This is due to Awol One’s rapping ability. Most of the time, Awol One sounds like a less adept Sage Francis.  With tracks such as “Brains Out” with Awol One rapping ” I’m being sick and tired of being stuck in the same route/ I got a date with myself and we be blowing my brains out”, the comparison is pretty solid.

Fortunately for the album, there are a few tracks with solid features that really shine, but unfortunately for Awol One everyone outdoes him.  The grungy synths along with Myka 9’s dungeon family-esque groovy chorous, and Aesop Rock’s complex excentric lyricism on “Stand Up” make it a great funky track.  “Waste The Wine” is an example of a solid party-rocker that, has Tash and E-Swift being the main features, with Awol One riding backseat lyrically. Both of these examples, make the listener forget that this is an effort by Awol One.  Owl Hours is recommended listening to hear Factor’s solid, unique production, and for the few excellent tracks with great features.  Awol One’s rapping, however, is ultimately forgettable.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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