If I had to make a list of my favorite musical characteristics, it would look like this:
This means that I have a predisposition towards hip-hop and rap. The reason you don’t see more of it on IC is that I can’t stomach misogyny or braggadocio, effectively un-predisposing me to rap. K’Naan is the only rapper I’ve ever had any desire to see live, and he made us all leave more hopeful about the world than we were coming in. Yes x100.
This is why Tiny Mountains is such a fascinating project to me. Elijah Wyman — one of my favorite acoustic songwriters ever — decided to make some indie hip-hop. These tracks aren’t gimmicks, nor are they other people’s indie-rock appropriated as beats. The five tracks currently released on the humorously named If you like this share it with yr friends. If you don’t, share it with yr enemies. mixtape are original creations, musically and lyrically.
The tracks run the gamut. “Money In Yr Pocket” sounds like someone chopped and sped up an indie-pop tune, then added Wyman’s frantic vocals. “4Play” even further integrates hip-hop songwriting constructions with indie techniques: It is entirely unsurprising that Age of Adz-era Sufjan is a quick connection.
On the other hand, “I’m Happy All the Time (Sad Hawaii Version)” is some sort of alternate-universe, autoharp-heavy Bon Iver slow jam thing. It resists description, other than that I can’t get the sung chorus out of my head. “Local Honey (Brooklyn Rules Football Mix),” has an easy groove that provides the best showcase for Wyman’s indie-fied, occasionally inscrutable lyrics and versatile voice.
The songs of Tiny Mountains are intricately constructed, idiosyncratic (check all the self-imposed rules for the songwriting process), intriguing and engaging. Wyman has removed himself from the singer/songwriter game and made himself into a fascinating enigma. I’m looking forward to his future tunes as he gets better and better at being Tiny Mountains. You should be interested too. Check the tunes for free here.