I’ll be the first to admit, when you take in consideration that I have two young children (two and three year-0ld daughters), a wife of 8+ years, a “start from scratch” office that I’m running, as well as two, sometimes three basketball games a week…well, sometimes it’s very easy for me to skip over new releases that have been receiving a fair amount of “burn” and praise on the Interwebs. Honestly, in my, going on 3 years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve scored such as “late pass” as I have with 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers “THE SLOW TWILIGHT LP”, an album that once again proves that indeed sometimes “the best things in life are free” (click to DL). Comprised of emcee Zilla Rocca and Seattle-based producer Douglas Martin, 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers intertwine elements of Hip Hop, alternative and even folk into a masterfully constructed gem that won’t necessarily “kill your trunk” but features all sorts of twists and turns that keep the listener on the edge of his/her seat from the opening moments of “. Being from PA (go Phillies!!) some may accuse me of being a “homer” (being that Zilla, Has-Lo, Small Pro, etc. all reside in Philly as well), but quite honestly, even as much as Zilla is internet accessible with his blog, Clap Cowards I never realized he repped the Keystone state until yesterday, as Has sent me the link for he and Zilla’s new freestyle over De La Soul’s “Forever”. Even worse, I have yet to peep “Bring Me The Head Of Zilla Rocca”and the album’s Remix project or any of the Clean Guns’ material. Needless, to say it appears as if I’ve got my work cut out for me this week and plenty of accompanying “road trip” material.
“The Slow Twilight” had been resting on my Ipod since the end of June when the album was offered as a free download to the masses. So why has it taken me this long to experience the album? Well, let’s not front, between the major-label releases and all the hype surrounding Jay’s “Blueprint III” and Rae’s “OBCL2″ the independents have suffered in my eyes as for just a minute I’ve “believed the hype” and placed some of the more enjoyable (at least, that’s how things have evolved) on the back-burner. My loss is your gain as “The Slow Twilight” is one of the most refreshing listens of 2009. Producer Douglas Martin has unveiled a production style that is extremely difficult to classify or label. The album is fueled by original, carefully picked break-beats and samples that wake the fine line between “original” and “out there” (with the exception of “Impeach The President” which supplies the backbone for “No Resolution”), one thing is for certain “The Slow Twilight” isn’t lacking a pinch in the “innovation” department. Emcee Zilla Rocca has a distinctive, forceful delivery that meshes beautifully with Martin’s sample-laden beats. I mean, on what other album are you gonna’ find an emcee giving a shout to Eric Lindros’ younger brother?
So, take my advice, clocking in at an “Illmatic”-like 45 minutes in length, “The Slow Twilight” will offer you two options: you’re either gonna’ love the album or hate it. In this case, if you’re a “close-minded” listener, “The Slow Twilight” is not gonna’ be your cup of tea. However, if you enjoy a listen that pushes the envelope as Hip Hop continues to evolve, then what Zilla Rocca and Douglas Martin have offered up is right up your alley.