First and foremost, time to give credit where credit is due. Big ups, to Jaz (hit me up when you get a moment) at Cold Rock Da Spot for hipping me to this new release from Long Island’s very own 5-man crew, Ancient Tongue and their debut LP, “Time Tells Tales”. Of course, if you’re guilty like myself, more often than not you tend to download one too many albums than you can find the time to listen to (or in my case, with all the links I receive on the daily…10 too many). Needless to say, amongst the stockpile of filler that floats around the interwebs in this day and age, sometimes you really have to pick and choose what you upload to your Ipod. Or, maybe even in some instances, when filtering through the GB’s of music on your spare hard drive, you just strike luck and find an album that will be worth more than just a “first listen”. Ancient Tongue’s “Time Tells Tales” was a welcome companion to my 500-plus miles I traveled last week, conducting business on opposite ends of the state on back to days. It also goes without mentioning that this album will…ahem, already has garnered “more than just one listen” as it features some of the funkiest, most bare bones tracks that I’ve enjoyed in 2009.
I’m a firm believer in the sequencing of an album, for the same simple reason that Jay-Z wouldn’t permit Itunes to sell individual tracks from “American Gangster” (like it mattered anyway, this was my least favorite Jay album)..he didn’t want to disrupt the overall flow of the LP. However, just this once, I’m gonna’ play Devil’s Advocate here; the first thing you need to do, of course (looks both ways) is actually purchase “Time Tells Tales”. I don’t give the official W.T.R. (soon to be BLOGGERHOUSE!!) stamp of approval to just any album out there, I tell my Wife often that I can foresee success in Hip Hop, predicting what new artists are “gonna’ be BIG” (most of the time, believe it or not, I’m actually right….50% of the time), Ancient Tongue’s debut is WORTH YOUR MONEY. Anyway, upon first listen to “Time…” go ahead and skip to “Numb”..OK, you there yet? I’m talking to you downloaders out there. Now, one of the most overused yet effective samples in Hip Hop is the Honey Drippers’ “Impeach The President”, “Numb” features one it’s best usages that you’ll ever experience as melodic keys are layered atop the bare bones thump of this classic breakbeat for an funky expedition.
EXPERIENCE indeed, that’s the word that most accurately describes this album from Ancient Tongue. Twenty-One tracks deep with quite a few “interludes” sprinkled into the mix, Ancient Tongue successfully incorporates elements of Dub, Reggae and Jungle (check “10,000 ft.” for a prime example, and be sure to make it thru the first minute of the track, the pay-off is worth the wait!) into their live instrumentation to make for an extremely enjoyable listen that in most cases would be a difficult task to pull-0ff effectively. While it’s almost impossible to track down vital info (names, locale, etc.) on the Web regarding Ancient Tongue, one thing is for certain, the lead emcee of the crew is a dead-on Aesop Rock with less intricate lyrics (that’s not necessarily a bad thing, believe me) and an undeniable presence on the M-I-C. The production found on “Time Tells Tales” is classic boom-bap that can be found on your cassettes from 1993-96 with subtle additions thrown into the mix (keys, guitar licks, etc.) that keeps the album fresh and more “in tune” with the “outside of the box” production techniques used today.
Let me forewarn you, you need to have a fairly “open” mind when first listening to “Time Tells Tales” (especially when listening to the skits or interludes) as it’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill debut. However, it’s the originality of Ancient Tongue that makes this album so damn enjoyable. Would I say it’s one of the better albums I’ve heard this year? Ehh, lemme’ put a spin on the album’s title for a minute….only “Time Will Tale”. In the meantime, Ancient Tongue’s debut will remain in constant rotation as it’s an album you have to try really hard NOT to enjoy and appreciate.
“The Hard Road” Video