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Preview by Laurent Fintoni.
Following the adage that good things come to those who wait, Brussels’ Squeaky Lobster returns to Vlek after nearly two years of silence with a new EP: Killing Eleven.
Having wooed crowds across Europe with his twisted hip hop grooves over the past couple of years, he kicks off 2013 with a half hour of rich and intricate music, a heady blend of saturated samples, rhythms and melodies designed to draw you in for an immersive listen. This immersion takes full sense on the vinyl release which, like 2011’s Will-O-The-Wisp EP, is designed to be listened as if it were a mixtape of old, the EP’s eight tracks spread across two sides of uninterrupted music that once started must be felt through all the way. You strap yourself in and you ride, or else…
Side A sets the tone with a 17-minute ride into the musical mind of Squeaky Lobster from epic strings on the opener to slow, chugging grooves that should come with a neck brace warning, intricate break chops, flying edits, screaming horns, ethereal voices and perfectly chosen samples that guide you on this journey and add the perfect touch to the music’s cinematic feel.
Over on side B things take a turn for the psychedelic as the grooves stay firmly off the beaten track yet continue to have an irresistible pulling effect on your head and body. Screeching guitars, ethereal melodies and an invitation to rock n’ roll co-exist happily in the mind of Squeaky Lobster and translate here into yet more forward thinking grooves, rhythms and melodies that join the dots between hip hop’s past, present and future.
The tracklist is merely there as an indicator, a signpost that can be safely ignored in favour of a wild sonic experience. Unlike other artists in the same realm, Squeaky Lobster may not talk much but he sure knows how to let the music speak for itself. After a few listens you may find yourself thinking that Killing Eleven is a direct descendant of the work that people like Prefuse 73 and Shadow started close to 20 years ago. And you wouldn’t be half wrong.
As for those of you wondering what Killing Eleven is – a mysterious killer, a rite of passage or perhaps a reference to Spinal Tap’s ‘turn it to eleven’ – you’ll have find the answer in your own listening experience. Inhale deep and loose yourself.
Killing Eleven is released by Vlek Data in January 2013 on 12” vinyl featuring screen-printed sleeves with artwork by Vlek’s Dim Run alongside digital.