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Further Reports on the Trump Soundtrack

04.25.16
EMN
Pitchfork

Ensemble Mik Nawooj, The Future of Hip Hop (miknawooj.com) This Bay Area orchestra—guided by pianist JooWan Kim, with MCs Do D.A.T and Sandman, operatic soprano Anne Hepburn Smith, cellist Lewis Patzner, violinist Mia Bella D’Augelli, flautist Bethanne Walker, clarinetist James Pytko, stand-up electric bassist Eugene Theriault, and drummer Lyman Alexander II, with Christopher Nicholas on choruses—play with an elegant severity, which can break up into a back and forth between Do D.A.T. and Sandman that makes you forget the band until they throw the music back to the players like a second baseman completing a double play to first. Behind a music stand, Smith opens her mouth and as high, clear, swirling sounds come out, she makes you realize how much room there is in hip-hop—sonic room, conceptual room—that it’s a language that after more than 40 years remains in flux. The textures swimming through the sound are like the world’s fastest ping-pong game: they can make you dizzy, trying to hear and see everything at once, and you do. They make the Kronos Quartet, perhaps as much a model as Prince’s “When Doves Cry” band or the Roots, feel like they’re afraid of their own voice. No one seems capable of hitting a predictable note.

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