As winter approaches, the mornings get colder and darker it’s the perfect time to get acquainted with an album that follows suit. The Natural Curriculum’s EP /OOO3/4 is a dark masterpiece. A concoction of strange sounds, sublime instrumental, quite literally banging percussion, dope beats and attitude fuelled bars. Its overall effect is something sinister and brilliant.
The 12-tracked album is characterised by steady beat’s, spooky synths, prominent percussion, subtle sound effects and heavy moody bars. The expert execution and composition of each individual track is flawless allowing it to flow like a sea and the entire album like an ocean; rough in parts, calmer in others with the odd tsunami. We are promised by an ominous voice on the first track, ‘ACO’, ‘a journey through the mind’ and it certainly feels like we get one. The songs have slightly psychedelic air to them, with synths and beeps eloquently composed, calming and stunning instrumental is contrasted with prominent heavy drums. The result being that each sound soaks into your brain taking it down a creepy road, whilst the bars delivered in hypnotic monotone project dark, clever lyrics and tight rhymes.
Sublime instrumental is ever present in this album; such as the angelic harps of ‘A Song for Steve Miller’, tropical sounding guitar that begins ‘Paint of a Man’ and the pretty piano of ‘Liberton’ and ‘Clock’. On their own these would create a calming ambiance but when combined with the attitude and heavy drums it becomes something dark and often haunting.
The opener to this album ‘ACO’ sets the bar nicely for the rest of the tracks to follow. A slow beat with chilling music and that ominous voice warning us of the journey we are about to embark on make the anticipated delivery of the first few bars that much more powerful. The bars themselves do not disappoint; clever, emitted clearly with that all-important attitude.
‘Epsilon’, the third track; a piece of lyricless, experimental instrumental snaps you out of the trance introduced by the previous two tracks as violins are joined by a heavy relentless drums beat.
‘Facial reconstruction’ has a slightly funkier old school beat as well as a tasty bit of bass. This tune takes you to a slightly boppier part of town, but nonetheless the attitude remains in verse’s and the overall effect is a banging tune.
‘Dead Fish’ was the next tune to strike me. Perhaps the darkest of the dark. With deep synths, spooky squeaking noises and the steady, strong delivery of the bars this track is pretty infectious, you enjoy getting taken to that dark place where this music comes from.
The final track ‘Clock’ leaves you in a tranquil state, completing the journey and the trance. The beat is calming as is the dialect discussing the mysteries of life. The attitude in the MCs voice seems to lighten allowing you to be eased out of this rather fantastic and engrossing album.
The Natural Curriculum have created something very clever and distinctive. The composition of the tracks and entire album lives up to the promise of a journey through the mind and you emerge enlightened having immersed your ears and brain in stunning instrumental, brash drums, odd noises and those all important bars. This is a dark and sometimes sinister piece of work that you can’t help but move to. Something to sesh in a darkened room on a dark day but still undoubtedly dope.
Review By Jess Johns