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Tuesday, November 20

Vinnie the Intern #24: Captain Murphy's Du∆lity

Captain Murphy's long-awaited mixtape, Duality, is finally here as of noon last Thursday. An album that brings as many questions as it does answers, it is a unique experience that fans of Madvillain  Earl Sweatshirt, or Flying Lotus should enjoy.

Not only an incredibly charismatic and realized debut (especially since Captain Murphy has only been in the public eye for less than 6 months), the corresponding video, created by Xavier Magot, is so well done it could make a grind-house feature blush. Even though it has dropped, there are still many questions (other than the identity Captain Murphy), such as the names of the tracks (thus making this review harder than it should have been). On Sunday, on his Twitter, a link to a seamless Mp3 was available for download. Reportedly, the 28th of November will be the date we are given the deluxe edition of Duality and feature "more songs and the instrumentals."
Captain Murphy - Du∆lity
Duality's plan of action is to be used as recruitment tool for how to be a cult leader. Images of Marshall Applewhite of Heaven's Gate and Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple populate some of the massive amounts of video cut together. This 35 minute video takes us through steps in being a leader: Hypnotize, Brainwash, Tell People What They Want To Hear, Believe in the Occult, Treat with the Devil, Sex & Drugs Always Help, The "Lie" is the Key, and Make Them Feel Free. The interwoven videos dividing the songs contain some so-good-it's-bad acting with cult members molding the mind of an easily impressionable soul.

"My doppelganger made a banger..."

This album has greatly memorable beats with a structure similar to that of Madvillainy. Interludes are cut between several beats as well as a large amount of dialogue. With producers such as Flying Lotus and TNGHT, it is not shocking at the unique, varied, and dense soundscapes but it can be shocking for how cohesive it really is. Lyrically, it is a disjointed, pitch-shifted would-be mess, but since it fits so well with the beats, in no way does it sound out of place. There is even a brief instrumental after "Mighty Morphin' Foreskin" that sounds like it could be on Wu Tang's Enter the 36 Chambers. Lyrically, it is top notch: smart wordplay and carefully crafted lines populate this album. Some of the greatest moments on this mix-tape are held in the lyrics. "And all the demons from my past appear 'cause I invited them" is a lyric I have to listened to repeatedly.

Opening up with a rhythmically tribal track, his talent as a lyricist becomes apparent very fast. A lot of the songs prior to release put Captain Murphy in a slower tempo, but he busts out of the gates with this fast paced, deep voiced venture. The fact of the brevity of these tracks and how well they blend really showhow they are meant to be listened to in one sitting. After the first track, the mix-tape shifts into some familiar territory with his three previously release tracks "Mighty Morphin' Foreskin," "The Ritual," and "Between Friends" (Featuring Flying Lotus and Earl Sweatshirt) following one another.

A darker turn is taken after "Between Friends" as vengeful, violently sexual lyrics (some even containing vocals manipulated so much they sound demonic) fill the tracks before "The Killing Joke," another Flying Lotus produced track that makes great use of the Os Mutantes' track "Ave Lucifer."  The following instrumental may be one of my favorite tracks on this tape. "His mystic powers and physical strength make him the most dangerous man of his time. No one knew him, they only feared him...the ladies adored him" says the narrator. A bouncy beat with some more trademark laughing echos in the background before fading into a bong hit (at this point a screenshot  of Step #6: Sex & Drugs Always Help pops up). After a short track and interlude, "Immaculation" featuring Brainfeeder artists, Aziz Gibson and Jeremiah Jae, sets apart the prior tracks with its smooth beat and talented guest spots.

After another quick track featuring all of my favorite things about Captain Murphy: a schizophrenic shifting of vocals, the trademark laugh, vivid story telling, and skilled lyricism. The album ends with the celebratory-esque "Shake Weight." The track is lyrically just as dark, but due to it's usage of the TNGHT track "Bugg'n" it is a little more traditional in a sense of how glitchy and sporadic the rest of Duality is. "Shake Weight" was released over summer and where it didn't really seem to fit the mold, it makes sense where it is placed in the album.

I love this album. Hip-hop has had a great year in 2012 and it is case and point with albums such as this. An innovative concept, a talented artist that contains an aura of mystery about him, and releasing a download for free isn't too shabby either are all good enough reasons to be a solid release and this album happens to fit all the criteria. I would give you my favorite tracks, but I recommend just checking out the entire thing. It is 35 minutes well spent.

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