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Tyler, The Creator - IGOR (Album Review)

Monday, 03 June 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

For Tyler, The Creator’s fifth album, the artistic polymath and Odd Future co-founder has leaned into chunky synths and drum-loops, painting a robust musical landscape of nebulous digital patterns and rapid fire, emotionally-charged lyrics.

It’s a further move away from the gritty production that made his name in the early 2010s, and demonstrates an artist able to convey a high degree of pathos within the boundaries of fun, bouncy hip hop. We open with IGOR’S THEME, a fanfare intro that establishes the album’s signature elements: big fuzzy synths disguising subtle, highly elaborate jazz-infused arrangements.

As on many of the numbers here, the track operates as a kind of polished assembly; vocal motifs come and go with random elegance, and musical choices appear plucked from thin air.

RUNNING OUT OF TIME operates in a similar way. Out of the gate we are greeted with the key refrain—a kind of lament that weaves and meanders—before big, satisfying drums drop in halfway through.

Remarkably, the track then returns to the low-slung groove, and the drums are replaced by minimalistic finger clicks. The electric piano chords dart around fantastically, giving the song greater melodic complexity. It then ends without ceremony—seemingly halfway through a musical phrase.

This sudden approach to ending tracks—also favoured by Kendrick Lamar and (fellow Odd Future alumnus) Frank Ocean—gives the album a thrown-together feel that makes it seem far more careless than the reality. It’s a tidy bit of compositional sleight-of-hand that exposes lessons learnt from mixtapes: tracks seem to flow into each-other and the album has enhanced cogency.

That said, not everything here is completely top drawer. GONE, GONE / THANK YOU is a bit of a boring, nothing song, while closer ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? attempts to round off the album with a modern take on a sentimental swing ballad. There is nothing inherently wrong with the track—it is produced with verve and intelligence—it just lacks an explosive vocal that one might expect on a song of this sort.

Some of these hiccups can be put down to style: Tyler is primarily a rapper and producer. His (often comically) bad singing is offered as a testament to his innate creativity. It seems to suggest that he can’t help himself from trying to do everything all the time in pursuit of artistic endeavour and, for the most part, it works.

Tyler, The Creator Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon September 16 2019 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Tue September 17 2019 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Wed September 18 2019 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

Click here to compare & buy Tyler The Creator Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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