Pedestrian Volume One: unIndian Songs

[Anticon; 2005]

Styles: alt.rap, underground hip-hop
Others: Why?, Sole, early Anticon

Anticon ain't what it used to be. Members have moved on to bigger and better things. The core of Anticon has disbanded in many ways -- it's more of a label than it is a collective now. It's not so incestuous -- outsiders are welcomed in, and the main characters are drifting off into different genres and countries. It would be foolish to say Anticon's pretension hasn't led to some drastic shifts in underground hip-hop. The slogans and propaganda that got the ball rolling on their careers in music worked to perfection, and such hijinx aren't even necessary anymore. They're solidified. They're here to stay. Their impact has been felt, their positions set in stone. There has been one last rusted hinge screw swaying in the wind from the sunshine of Oakland to the pine forests of Maine and back again -- the forever-delayed Pedestrian solo album.

Pedestrian is many things in relation to Anticon. In addition to creating the "anticon" name, he's one of the original members partially responsible for exposing "experimental" underground hip-hop to other members through tape trading, he's covered more of the literary canon than anyone else around, he's granted less than a dozen interviews, done a scarce amount of shows, and kept his discography of guest appearances and one-off compilation spots very light. Up until recent years, you'd be hard-pressed to even find a photograph of the elusive Pedestrian. The reasons for the album push-backs and rare appearances have been chalked up to nit-pickiness and an obsessive seeking of something "worthy" (in the artist's own eyes, that is). His appearances as of late have delivered a more polished Pedestrian than we've been used to. Gone is the cosmic lovefuck of "Holy Shit!" and "bright moments," fare thee well to the man you heard on "dead beats, generation of." The tongue-twisting indecipherable pitter-patter approach he began his recording career with has been reduced to a slower, more listener-friendly style. Sometimes he veers off into an old school hip-hop cadence (there are many nods to the hip-hop of yesteryears on the album), sometimes he sermonizes, and sometimes the presence of fast-spat mumblings still prevails. It's obvious that Pedestrian took all these years to tidy up his delivery and smooth out the jagged edges, and we greatly appreciate that.

This is the final piece of evidence that signifies what Anticon once was. These are the beats that could have fit in on the Bottle of Humans bootleg with Barbie on the cover or Music for the Advanced Listener EP. These are samples and breaks, absurd song structures, brief quirky interludes, and charmingly intelligent one-liners. Pedestrian deals with politics, religion, economics, and more. He quotes his fellow Anticonquistadors, reflects on their early days, and makes light of his output over the years. Pedestrian has finally arrived to tie it all together. The album that was once supposed to drop on sister-label Mush (evidenced by the mention of Robert Curcio on the last track) ultimately, and appropriately, came out on Anticon. He's here to bury the remains of Stuffed Animals and Object Beings, he's here to close the lid on the "old" Anticon. Pedestrian's long-awaited album gives us all the "okay" to move forward and save the Anticon nostalgia of armless goth chicks, purple-and-black color schemes, and Saved by the Bell inside jokes for another decade or two.

1. Sermon on the Subject of Death, Part One
2. O Hosanna
3. Lifelong Liquidation Sale (1850 - 1950)
4. Lifelong Liquidation Sale (1850 - 1950)
5. Sermon on the Subject of Death, Part 2
6. O Silent Bed
7. the dead of a day
8. Arrest the President
9. The History Channel..

10. anticon

11. Field Reports from the Financial District
12. The Toss & Turn
13. Jane 2: Electric Boogaloo
14. blind dates