2020 Podcast

In this episode of the P&C 2020 Podcast, soso sits down with mcenroe to recount the early days of Clothes Horse Records, the ups and downs of life in independent hip hop and the great music and relationships made along the way. Presented by UGSMAG.com.

Tracklist
soso – Drink (feat. John Smith)
Epic – Thought Process
Pip Skid – All Up In This Piece (feat. Epic)
soso – Pretty Mound of Dirt
Pip Skid – Pip Skizzy Demo
soso – Hungover for Three Days Straight
Nestor Wynrush – So High (The Richardson)
soso – Not For Nothing
Yy – Mess of a Man (Rough Mix)

Another Year In The Books

Swiss label mism celebrates their 5th anniversary with an ill weirdo rap compilation. Another Year in the Books was produced by Maki and reflects on the year that was.

A1 Papervehicle – The Unmaking Of Numbers
A2 Bleubird & Babelfishh – Money Grinder
A3 Tenshun & Jamesreindeer – Wound Treatment
B1 The Beastmaster, Mildew & Babelfishh – California Richmond
B2 Glen Porter – Dark Place
B3 Maki & soso – Another Year In The Books

The artwork is hand made by the Tika Thek. Limited to 200 hand numbered copies.

mism10

Swiss label mism celebrates their 5th anniversary with an ill weirdo rap compilation. Another Year in the Books was produced by Maki and reflects on the year that was.

A1 Papervehicle – The Unmaking Of Numbers
A2 Bleubird & Babelfishh – Money Grinder
A3 Tenshun & Jamesreindeer – Wound Treatment
B1 The Beastmaster, Mildew & Babelfishh – California Richmond
B2 Glen Porter – Dark Place
B3 Maki & Soso – Another Year In The Books

The artwork is hand made by the incredible Tika Thek. Limited to 200 hand numbered copies.

Interview with Verb Magazine (CA)

Not For Nothing: soso mines personal and family histories for meaning on his latest record by Alex J. MacPherson

Not For Nothing is the latest record from Troy Gronsdahl, a Saskatoon-based artist and curator who makes hip hop music under the name soso. Conceived as a catalogue of personal and family histories, Not For Nothing is an attempt to assess the present in terms of the past. Drawing on moments both profound and banal, Gronsdahl paints a vivid picture of his childhood and adolescence that is as earnest as it is compelling. Gronsdahl has always been an unorthodox hip hop artist, and Not For Nothing casts his disarmingly sincere vocals against a sombre tapestry of atmospheric sounds and cardiac drums. I caught up with Gronsdahl to learn more about Not For Nothing and his notion of radical sincerity.

Alex J. MacPherson: You’ve written about how your last record demonstrated that what we call the music industry was an illusion, or at least not what you expected it to be. It feels like this record is a response to that, and a new way of looking at your music.

Troy Gronsdahl: I feel like I have a more mature perspective on that than I used to have. It can be easy to get caught up in certain ideas about what it means to achieve success as a musician and what a music career should look like. In the past few years I’ve given that more thought and arrived at a place that works for me. I feel like I can have a music practice and I can make art and I can have a job, and those things don’t have to compete with each other for my attention; they can all complement each other in some way.

AJM: And by stripping away all the excess you’re able to write an intensely personal record.

TG: I was sort of thinking about my position in the independent hip hop landscape, and I feel like I’ve established myself through this radical sincerity. When I was thinking about hip hop when I was younger a lot of it was about posturing. It was very macho. I liked the idea that sincerity could be radical in some ways, so I try to write from a personal place and use my experiences as a starting point for writing my songs. It’s a way for me to understand my experiences and place myself in the world.

AJM: It seems that Not For Nothing is an attempt to examine your past and prove that life is not for nothing, that it actually matters.

TG: I think that’s fair because it’s searching for meaning, not only on the cosmic scale but also on the micro scale. The experiences we have, the failures, there’s a hope that it’s not for nothing. It is easy to be disillusioned about certain things. I guess I’m trying to be reflective and maybe hope that it was not for nothing, that some growth comes out of setbacks and you learn through disappointment.

AJM: You’ve written that “there are no real hooks” on the record, yet the beats seem to match up with the songs – tension, unresolved figures, stress.

TG: I worked with a producer named Maki. He currently lives in Kamloops and we finished the record together in Victoria. I’ve known him for quite a long time and I really respect his work. He makes these brooding atmospheric beats that I think really complement what I was thinking about for this album – he would share beats with me and it was more of a process of writing to certain songs, sort of feeling which ones would work the best. In some respects, it was me responding to the beats that he was sending me, picking ones that resonated with me or ones that harmonized with the lyrics I was working with

AJM: I’m curious how you feel about the idea that life is not for nothing now, after making the album.

TG: It was kind of cathartic, I think. Somehow putting words to this experience and naming it in some way, or even alluding to it, had given me sort of a place to move forward from. I guess maybe that’s the cathartic moment with the album. It’s something you can work with then. Sort of like once you can articulate that there’s something and you don’t know what it is, it gives you a place to move from.

Not for Nothing, Pop Revue Express

Un peu comme celle de Buck 65, la musque de Soso à autant à voir avec le folk, l’electro qu’avec le rap ; et c’est ce qui fait tout son charme et sa particularité.
Très habitées, les 11 chansons qui figurent sur “Not for Nothing” renvoient à des images de campagne perdue, évocant même par moment des ambiances de film fantastique ou de western, avec ces boucles lancinantes et cette voix étrange et affectée du chanteur, presque triste, mais qui fonctionne parfaitement et qui colle bien aux sonorités et aux musiques mises en place par Soso : beats lents, bass lourde, piano triste, sonorités électroniques, arpèges de guitares fantomatiques.
Sorti sur label auvergnat Kütu Folk, l’album de ce producteur  canadien est une vraie réussite, un disque très beau, très intimiste, très touchant.

[8/10]

http://poprevuexpress.blogspot.ca/2013/08/soso-not-for-nothing.html

Not for Nothing, Dead Magazine

Sechs Jahre sind seit „Tinfoil On The Windows“ vergangen. Sechs Jahre, in denen es insgesamt sehr still um den kanadischen Künstler wurde. Denkbar konsequent tritt dieser nun ein – wenn man das so betiteln mag – Comeback der ruhigen Art an, ein grandioses obendrein.

„Not For Nothing“ wirkt in seiner Gänze wie eine durch elf Tracks geformte Stille. Behutsam nimmt Soso seine Hörer an die Hand und führt diese mit seinen ruhig artikulierten und ebenso poetischen Worten durch glasklare Welten. Wunderschöne Landschaften sind es, welche man durchquert.

Die außergewöhnliche Schönheit erlangen die Songs natürlich auch durch Makis makellosen Produktionen. Ihm gelingt es, die Emotionen an ihre äußersten Grenzen zu treiben ohne jemals in konturenlosen Kitsch abzudriften. Dank dieses Spagats ist die Aufmerksam- und Empfindsamkeit der Hörer durchweg gewährleistet.

Den nötigen Respekt den Produktionen gegenüber erweist auch Soso selbst. So hört man ihn häufig nur in der ersten Hälfte vieler Songs und die Musik den restlichen Rahmen für sich selbst sprechend ausfüllen.

Bei „Not For Nothing“ kamen zwei Künstler zusammen, die zur wortlosen Verständigung fähig waren und es vermochten, sich breitflächig ausfüllend zu ergänzen um am Ende einen der hochkarätigsten Outputs des Jahres hervorzubringen.

– Markus Matt, Dead Magazine

Not for Nothing, 3 Million Cheers (JP)

寂寥感あふれるヒップホップ。ポエトリー・リーディングなラップで、Arab Strap っぽい感じ。

物悲しさは主としてバックトラックによって醸し出されている。きれいで染み入る音、単体のポストロックとしても聴き込めるクオリティ。
その上に重なるポエトリー・ラップは、トラックとは別々のものとして流れているように聞こえる。「歌」のように一体的に噛み合ってる感じがしない。かと いってバラバラというわけでもなく、もっと上位のレベルで相互作用しているような。リズムやトーンといったところとは違った部分での作用。あるいは、抑制 的な単独モノローグが終わったあとにうっすら昂揚するメロディが静寂から立ち上がって引き継がれる、っていうのとか。
全体的に「これとこれがこう組み合わされるのかー」っていう感銘がいろいろある。

スピーキングと音楽の関係に、映画のような雰囲気あるかも。

 

 

Troy Gronsdahl によるユニット。カナダのサスカトゥーンという地方都市を拠点にしている。ヴィジュアル・アーティストとしても活動しているとのこと。

Not for Nothing, Christophe (FR)

“SOSO” Sorti le 10 juin dernier voici donc “Not For Nothing”, album, très attendu par le petit noyau de fans Soso a le mot juste, sobre et beau du hip hop lent des textes fort qui ne sont pas là pour rien …

“Not for nothing” et notre petit canadien,discrète icône de l’alt rap, à sa grande et juste valeur. Soso réalise la parfaite toile de fond, lumineuse et triste, pour porter ses mots. Des mots sous forme de chant ou rap auxquels la production apporte la juste dose de beats, de cordes et de sons minéraux, délicate et onirique, mélodies rêveuses et éthérées et d’ambiances tristes,il n’est donc pas venu pour rien voici un lien en dessous où l’album est a écouter avec rien dans votre assiette, juste un casque sur les feuilles de choux…

Christophe, August 17, 2013

soso – Not for Nothing

soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing soso Not for Nothing

soso Not for Nothing

On the title track of his fifth release, soso wonders aloud: all this for what?

In a calm, resolute voice the Canadian rapper grapples with “seemingly obvious but elusive truths.” He wanted to write a record about god, the hunger for myth, benign cruelty, and acceptance. He wanted to explore the complexity of life through an assemblage of personal reflection, contradiction, and observation. I can’t put my finger on it, not to stop the bleeding, not to tie a perfect bow… (Pretty as a picture)

This is a record about trying to figure shit out. It’s not pretentious, but it is edging rap lyrics into somewhat unfamiliar territory. It is contemplative. There is yearning. There is vulnerability and frustration. What is the distance between resignation and surrender? (If I ever knew you, I don’t know you now)

soso is an unorthodox hip hop artist best known for songs that explore family and social histories, personal experience, and place. His latest album is a culmination of the creative strides he has made over the past decade. The writing is more wordy than previous efforts and is laced with idioms, double negatives, and nuance. There are moments of off-kilter crooning. It’s a bit obtuse, but certainly sincere.

The album was produced by indie hip hop stalwart and long time collaborator, Maki. Best known for his melodic, brooding sample arrangements and a strong no-nonsense drum program, Maki has been quietly killing shit from his desert valley home in western Canada. After a string of 7″ releases on European bespoke labels Luana and MISM, he returns to where it all began. It is a homecoming of sorts. Embracing obscure shades of progressive rock, folk and rap sensibilities, he has created the perfect backdrop for soso’s best moments. Not for Nothing is forthright, aching, haunting.

I will listen for your voice in every empty cup. (The blushing bride)

Track Listing

01. The wait
02. Things started out so pretty
03. Pretty as a picture
04. The rain barrel
05. If I ever knew you, I don’t know you now
06. Choke
07. The extermination of a raccoon, first part (Revelation)
08. The extermination of a raccoon, second part (Epiphany)
09. The blushing bride
10. Not for nothing
11. A map of all the constellations I can see from my kitchen window

Not for Nothing, Hartzine (FR)

Icône très discret de l’indie rap blanc post-anticon, le canadien Soso  inventa au début des années 2000 avec son premier album Birtday Song une manière originale et toute singulière de faire « hip-hop »; une sorte de folk-rap brumeux et ascétique teinté de références sonores à sa contrée natale – la province du Saskatchewan – le tout habillé d’un spoken word toujours introspectif mais jamais prétentieux. Soso n’avait pas totalement disparu de nos têtes malgré sa longue absence discographique et ce  grâce notamment à l’excellent travail du label Kütu Folk qui, en 2010, eu la bonne idée de rééditer son dernier album, Tinfoil on the Windows (lire), initialement paru en 2007 et de le faire jouer l’année suivante aux transmusicales dans le cadre de leur collaboration avec le festival rennais. Il semblerait que cette coopération ait porté ses fruits puisque sort aujourd’hui via la structure Clermontoise,  Not for Nothing,  son 5ème album…

Hartzine

Not for Nothing, Freezeec (FR)

J’ai découvert Soso, figure du rap indé canadien, avec l’album Tenth Street And Clarence sortie en 2005, et ce fût une véritable claque pour moi ! Ce rap minimaliste ou intimiste avec ce penchant mélancolique inspiré des hivers canadien me parlait ! Depuis cet album je n’ai pas lâché les albums de Soso, plaçant même l’artiste dans mes artistes fétiches.

Malheureusement il avait un peu disparu de la circulation ces dernières années, mais voilà qu’il y a quelques mois il lâche un teaser annonçant un nouvel album.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Freezeec (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Exclaim

Soso makes sad, depressing music, and nothing much has changed in the six years since his last solo album, Tinfoil on the Windows. On his fifth solo record, Soso asks, “What is it all for?” touching upon topics of loss, loneliness and a reluctance to accept change. Oh, and also pesky but cute baby raccoons. His lyrics are heartfelt and honest, rhyming as often as not, and his delivery is much more spoken word than traditional rap flow, although he does attempt earnest, off-kilter crooning on “The Blushing Bride” and the title track. With long stretches of songs without words, the music is equally as important and Maki’s beautifully melancholy production is a perfect match for Soso’s sorrowful subject matter. The downtempo beats are intricately crafted, layered with hard-hitting drums and a preference for piano, violin and acoustic guitar — the simple guitar progression and accompanying violin and twangy guitar on “The Extermination of a Raccoon, Second Part (Epiphany)” is an album highlight. Like Buck 65, Soso’s style is rooted in hip -hop, but it’s just a starting point to explore music and story. Those looking for unique, beat-based music with heart would do well to check out Not For Nothing.

Thomas Quinlan

Not for Nothing, SURL Magazine (FR)

Quand une amie m’a demandé « Tu connais l’artiste Soso ? », je ne me doutais pas encore de ce qui manquait à ma vie. De son vrai nom Troy Gronsdahl, Soso est un artiste canadien, révélé lors des Trans-musicales de Rennes. Bien qu’inconnu à mon répertoire, l’artiste n’en est pas à son premier coup d’essai puisqu’il sortira lundi 10 juin son cinquième album Not for Nothing.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, SURL Magazine (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Gaîté Live (FR)

On reconnaît sans mal un album de Soso, jeune musicien originaire de Saskatoon au Canada, ayant déjà semé derrière lui une poignée de petits disques visionnaires, parus pour la plupart sur son propre label, Clothes Horses Records. Cela tient d’abord à cette atmosphère qui, grâce en particulier au soin apporté à la production, constitue un des principaux signes distinctifs du travail de Troy Gronsdahl (le véritable nom du garçon). Cela résulte ensuite de cette très louable ouverture d’esprit qui lui permet de mêler dans un même geste post-rock contemplatif, soul diaphane et hip-hop patraque. Cela s’explique encore par un travail remarquable sur les mélodies, les arrangements et les guitares.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Gaîté Live (FR)”

Not for Nothing, Fake For Real (FR)

Depuis 2007 et son dernier véritable album, Tinfoil on the Windows, on pensait que soso avait disparu avec Clothes Horse, son label. Il y avait bien eu All They Found was Water at the Bottom of the Sea, en 2009, un disque sorti en commun avec DJ Kutdown, mais cela n’avait été qu’un projet instrumental sans lendemain, disponible uniquement chez les fétichistes japonais de Hue Records. En 2013, cependant, soso est toujours là. Comme d’autres artistes importants de la vague rap indé, il a trouvé refuge chez l’un des rares labels à entretenir encore la flamme, en l’occurence, ici, le Endemik Music de Scott Da Ros.

Continue reading “Not for Nothing, Fake For Real (FR)”

Not for Nothing

In October 2012, I traveled to Vancouver, BC for a week of family, good food, art and music. I finished the week in Victoria with an intensive recording and production session with my collaborator, Maki. This is a single entry rap diary.

—-

I have just awoken from an impromptu post-dinner nap on the floor of Maki’s bedroom studio in Victoria, BC. I have been taking full advantage of lunch and dinner breaks gorging myself at some of the must-eat restaurants in the city — wood fired pizza from Prima Strata, pulled pork and deep fried mac and cheese from Pig, chicken liver pate from Stage, and a fish taco AND fish and chips from the wharf-side spot, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Unadulterated gluttony in conjunction with long sessions of in-studio inactivity (lots of sitting, pacing, thoughtful listening) have been wrecking havoc on my energy level. At any rate, I don’t think Maki noticed I had dozed off as he has been engrossed with a bass line for the past hour or so. We are entering our second day of recording melodies, moving bits around, dropping snares, re-ordering kicks and the like. It’s kind of a tedious process but absolutely essential. We review our progress periodically and are reinvigorated. The coffee and other caffeinated beverages also help.

The new record has been taking shape over some time. The earliest of tracks were written upwards of four years ago with the newest material finished just days before recording. I was hoping to conjure a sweeping epic exploring the human experience — things about god, the hunger for myth, benign cruelty, acceptance. Of course songs about love and personal failure have inevitably found their way into the mix diluting an otherwise brilliant opus into more of the same old soso. Next record I guess.

Following up on Tinfoil on the Windows has been a bit of a challenge for me. The production was really quite something. Maybe Smith scored a special record of such scope I was unsure how I could ever make another “regular” record. At the same time, however, I’ve found new optimism in a less goal-orientated music making process. Gone are the fool-hardy notions of independent success through well-penned one sheets, radio service, key markets, media campaigns, and other nonsense. If the Canadian independent hip hop scene scratched out a niche in its formative stages through innovation and determination, it had been being quickly undermined by the false promise of the “music industry.” I was not immune to the BS. I had poured everything into my last album and as the fall of 2007 gave way to the winter of 2008, I was feeling downright burnt out and slightly bitter. I was someone with absolutely nothing to lose and I felt that I had somehow lost. Looking back, it was the most incredible time in my young life and I found a way to feel like I had been wrong done by.

Fast forward to the uncomfortable carpeted floor of Maki’s home studio. I am listening to him hone his beats with a weird feeling of pride. Maki has been dj-ing, making beats and organizing shows since the early nineties. In fact, he promoted a show on my first Canadian tour (I was tagging along with my Saskatoon rap pals on a tour with Awol One and Busdriver). Over dinner, Maki confessed that he  slapped some kid in the face for making disparaging remarks about my music. Good to know your rap homies have your back. Though I had worked with Maki in the past, a full length project had never really been in the cards due in no small part to my sluggish work pace and the geographical distance that separated us. The timing was right for this record though and after a couple of years of starting and stopping, sending beats and vocals back and forth, we finally reached something that had the makings of an album.

And it’s a great album if I do say so myself. Maki has hit his stride. Blending his brooding melodic sample arrangements with a strong no-nonsense drum program, he has created a cohesive collection of beats for this record. The writing is more wordy than my previous efforts and I’ve enjoyed playing with idioms, double negatives and other nuances of the English language. There’s a bit of off kilter crooning. It’s a bit dense at times and, of course, there are no real hooks. I think it’s a nice progression. The record is called Not for Nothing. The details of the release haven’t been entirely resolved but should be in place in the next couple of months.

 

Transmusicale Tour Diary

The following is a recount of my experiences at Les Transmusicales de Rennes, France. Originally published by my homies at Ominocity.com, I’ve compiled the series for equal parts posterity and vanity.

—- Part 1 —-

Maybe Smith and I spent the past couple weeks crafting our set and practicing comical French phrases. I’m hoping to string together charming, semi-coherent sentences using my rudimentary high school French vocabulary. Colin is threatening to bring out his creeping Quebecois jargon, but I expect he’ll be nothing short of diplomatic.

An uneventful flight to Toronto and one predictable, expensive and kinda shitty meal in the airport later and we’re airborne once again. I capitalized on a temporarily unsupervised drink cart parked dangerously close to my seat. With stealth and cunning beguiling my otherwise gentile appearance I slipped two little plastic bottles of red wine into my storage pouch. I’m a rapper. We steal things. While a plane load of sleepy travellers nodded off, I sipped from one slightly pathetic little plastic bottle of wine and then another as I watched a Will Ferrel movie about a drunk who’s life goes to shit. (Movies are so fake.)

“France is beautiful,” our driver, and trumpet player, Julien quips. Piloting a tour van through a particularly unattractive area in the city of Renne, we eventually find our way to the venue, Aire Libre. A proper concert venue, the space is ballin’ hard with three chandeliers and almost too much red velvet. I left a nauseous, post vomiting Maybe Smith in the the hostel style lodging just steps away from the venue to meet one friendly French musician after another and tour the new home I will share with twenty of my new best friends. Kütu Folk has pulled together an ambitious one week program of collaborations and rehearsals with members of its roster culminating in soso performances on Saturday and Sunday (that’s what I’m telling everyone at home anyway).

I’m amped up and exhausted. No sleep yet. I need to brush my teeth.

Communal meal at 7pm. A bien tot.

—- Part 2 —-

Kütu Folk is like the little label that could. They’ve parlayed a series of limited edition, hand sewn releases into major European distribution,  mainstream press coverage and an unprecedented week long run at the Transmusicale Festival. They’ve arranged for exclusive use of the performance space for the week, including a full service kitchen, a staff of audio and light technicians, and have assembled a cast of eighteen or twenty musicians for a collaborative set featuring songs from each of the participating bands. This extraordinary feat of organization requires a bit of strict scheduling and well-meaning ball busting. We’ve spent a couple of very long and weary days of rehearsal, performing for school children, festival organizers, invited media. My sweaty pits have been diligently documented by a hired photographer who has been shooting hours and hours of video and still photography. There is one particularly unflattering picture of me in the local paper bellowing out gang vocals. In the meantime, however, we’ve sorted out a lovely live interpretation of Hungover for Three Days Straight with Hospital Ships, Maybe Smith, and the Delano Orchestra. They also brought in a small string section, I assume, to make my music sound more credible. It’s a very sweet rendition.

The venue, though perfectly equipped and staffed with the most hospitable folks I’ve met, is a bit out of the way. During short breaks from the dark (and smoky) performance space, we’ve explored the immediate area on foot — a neat little suburban development located adjacent to the Rennes airport. After two very full days of rehearsal, Colin and I happily took the opportunity to bus into the city centre with our new pals, Taylor Holenbeck from Hospital Ships and Jonus and Sylvie of Evening Hymns. We gawked at cathedrals and ate churros in the square, returning in time for one more pre-show rehearsal.

—- Part 3 —-

The first few days here felt like I was in a performing arts school, like the movie Fame, or the famous school in New York where Tupac honed his acting chops. After consecutive days of twelve hour rehearsals, the first show was nothing short of cathartic. The cast was excited and there was a real camaraderie developing. We celebrated into the wee hours, drinking and dancing to Motown classics. The following day everyone was physically drained and more haggard looking than usual. Our performance that night suffered as well — I counted at least a few cringe worthy fuck ups and technical problems. I was the first to take the stage and I think my less than elegant entrance set the tone for the evening. Trying to pick my way through a maze of guitars, pedals, stands and other gear, I tripped over a monitor and staggered into centre stage in a hilarious, slap stick kinda way. The crowd applauded. Post show commiseration evolved into more revelry. I invented what became the official drink of the festival — a cup of beer foam mixed with Irish whiskey. I call it the parfait parfait.

—- Part 4 —-

We made amends for Thursday’s spotty performance with a perfect performance on Friday. Once again the musicians were in a celebratory mood and the party moved to an offsite festival venue. With a full day of scheduled rehearsals, sound check and performances, Colin and I (and my petite ami, Carleigh, who just arrived) decided to turn in and catch up on some desperately needed sleep.

The novelty of living and working with 20-odd artists in such close proximity is beginning to wear a bit thin. The house is ripening and the air is getting thick from the humidity of ten thousand showers, sour towels and cigarette smoke. An uninterrupted night’s sleep is impossible with the constant banging of doors, drunk giggling musicians, and angry outbursts from the most senior of artists (the otherwise affable and incredibly versatile drummer, P). Needless to say, the fake enthusiasm is getting difficult for old soso to maintain. Colin and I dragged our extremely tired bodies out of bed for a scheduled 11am rehearsal, first postponed for another band, and again for piano tuning (do pianos really need to be tuned everyday? Jesus Christ). We had just enough time to plug in our gear, figure out which guitar to use and run through two and a half songs when we were abruptly stopped so some skinny teen hipster band who I haven’t met could sound check. I don’t care if they’re the nicest teenagers in France. Colin and I hate them and their moustaches look stupid.

As I write down these last few bitchy remarks, one of the organizers passes me an envelope stuffed with euros. My mood has improved considerably. Sound check is at 3!

—- Part 5 —-

All the anxiety that accumulated over the day was alleviated during the the show. The venue was filled to capacity and I think my clumsy French was sufficiently charming. French audiences seem particularly well suited to my slow, melodic songs — they are respectful, engaged and seem genuinely interested in music. Getting them to jump around or clap along to a song is a bit more of a challenge but I’ll take a patient and curious listener over a rowdy crowd any day. I inadvertently did an encore fake out when I walked back on stage to grab my jacket. I’ll have to remember that trick. I had a quick interview with a French journalist between sets and took the stage for the finale. I channeled Band Swap type energy into our Kütu group set, bruising my thigh with an over enthusiastic sleigh bell performance (rookie mistake). Champagne and still more beers followed; the venue was incredibly hospitable. We were spoiled all week with quiche and roast chicken and lamb and gâteau aux poires and the most delicious cheeses and breads. I’m gonna miss this place.

Sunday was our last scheduled performance. The collective energy was pretty low following the success of our previous evening. I was not expecting much from the show and was pleasantly surprised by another great turnout. I did my best to grind out a meaningful performance. A couple of small fuck ups thankfully went unnoticed. Colin really killed it. We mingled with fans after the show and signed a few autographs. I made amends with the aforementioned band (they are very, very nice). We sold out of my CD at the merch table. I said farewell to most of my new music pals and retired to my little suite in the attic feeling content and very proud.

The next morning I said my final adieu to the few staff people still kicking around and the primary Kütu organizer, Alex. He gave me a copy of the popular French daily, Libération–in the festival recap I received props for the best performance in the festival. Incroyable!

I’d like to thank my homie, Maybe Smith, for lending me music cred and patiently enduring the first world hardships of tour. I’d like to thank all my new pals at Kütu Folk, the skilled and friendly cast of musicians, and the Saskatchewan Arts Board who offset my travel expenses through their appropriately named Travel Grant program. Merci beaucoup!

 

Tinfoil on the Windows, La musique à papa (FR)

Cela commence toujours un peu de la même manière : par quelques bidouillages électroniques, puis viennent petit à petit quelques notes de guitare d’abord assez éparses puis plus resserrées. L’ambiance est plutôt post-rock, mais un post-rock tranquille, pas si éloigné finalement du bricolage d’un DM Stith par exemple. Ensuite, la voix de Soso se fait enfin entendre (les morceaux sont en général assez longs). Troy Gronsdahl, puisque c’est ce canadien seul qui se cache derrière ce drôle de pseudo, chante d’abord à la façon d’un rappeur avec un flot particulièrement lent (The Streets?). On pourrait aussi rapprocher cette façon de chanter (ou plutôt de parler) de celle d’un Tom Yorke sur le “Fitter Happier” du fameux “OK Computer”. Mais les morceaux n’en restent souvent pas là et évoluent vers quelque chose de plus mélodique, de vraiment chanté et quelques fois, de profondément bouleversant. On pense alors à Mark Linkous ou Jason Lytle pour ses jeux de micros trafiquant la voix. Et quelques chansons finissent même à l’unisson, dans une sorte de communion proche de ce que peut faire Arcade Fire.

Continue reading “Tinfoil on the Windows, La musique à papa (FR)”

Tinfoil on the Windows, MuzzArt (FR)

Kütu Folk Records est un label indépendant basé à Clermont-Ferrand. Créé par un collectif d’artistes, KFR tente depuis 2006 de conjuguer ambitions esthétiques et musicales. Au travers de pochettes cousues, conçues et réalisées par les artistes eux-même, KFR remet, à l’heure de la dématérialisation, l’objet disque au centre du discours . C’est ainsi que se dégage du label une identité et une cohérence forte malgré l’étendue des horizons visités par ses artistes.

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Tinfoil on the Windows, Voluume (FR)

Septième album du canadien Soso, vient à peine de sortir que, déjà, chacun crachote son avis : Essoufflement d’un artiste? Album répétitif?. Et si, nous prenions cet album comme une entité indépendante? Sans vouloir négliger l’immense carrière de Soso, concentrons nous plutôt sur ce projet là.

Tinfoil on the Windows, Hartzine (FR)

Si on pouvait labelliser les genres comme on labellise certains de nos breuvages favoris, pour sûr l’indie rap canadien mériterait une Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée tant il nous apparaît depuis l’éblouissant Vertex de Buck 65 singulièrement différent de ce que nous catégorisons de coutume sous le terme “hip-hop”. En effet au pays des caribous, l’idéal-type du b-boy est à mille lieux de l’iconographie hiératique du bad boys Angelinos. Aussi, de ce côté-ci des Grands Lacs, dans la province du Saskatchewan, là où l’ennui des prairies sans fin remplace celle des quartiers sans horizon, le rappeur est souvent blanc, peut avoir comme modèle Johnny Cash, porter des chemises en laine en plus d’être à carreaux, détester le Moët, les blunts, les putes au fessier aussi rebondi que les suspensions d’un Monster Truck en action et leur préférer le whisky sans âge, la clope sans filtre et les femmes sans seins ; écouter le Wu-Tang les pieds vissés dans la boue, une canne à pêche dans une main, un livre de Burroughs dans l’autre ; sentir la paille humide plutôt que le bitume froid et croire encore que sa musique à une âme.

Continue reading “Tinfoil on the Windows, Hartzine (FR)”

soso – Tinfoil on the Windows (France)

soso - Tinfoil on the Windows (inside cover)
This special release of Tinfoil on the Windows is on the brilliant French label, KÜTU FOLK RECORDS. There is new cover art, made with care and attention to detail – each album is designed by the artist hand finished on a sewing machine!

Weaving compelling personal narratives with his sparse, beautiful production style, the Saskatchewan-based artist, soso has become a fixture of the avant-garde hip hop/art rap movement. In an ongoing effort to privilege experimentation and risk, soso adopted a collaborative approach for his latest production. Enlisting the talents of his friend, tour-mate and indie-rock darling, Maybe Smith, Tinfoil on the Windows is the most musically ambitious and creative soso release to date.

soso delivers fragile vocal melodies and close, confessional lyrics over an assemblage of field recordings, electronic bleeps, programmed drums and sprawling instrumentation evocative of My Bloody Valentine and Do Make Say Think. Additional contributions from Maki and Scott Da Ros add punch to the lovely melodic soundscapes. Tinfoil on the Windows challenges typical genre conventions and soso treads this unfamiliar ground with crafty song writing and integrity.

Tinfoil on the Windows, Foutraque (FR)

Joli coup pour le label Kütu Folk Records avec la sortie en France de l’album du Canadien Soso, Tinfoil On The Windows… Ce disque onirique, élégiaque et planant est une rencontre réussie entre un hip hop las et mélancolique, des guitares post rock aériennes et une pop échevelée ; on pourrait évoquer à son sujet un mélange vraiment bien foutu et particulièrement saisissant entre les univers du labelConstellation et des artistes Why ?, Neil Young, Buck 65, Arcade Fire et Beirut, ce qui n’est quand même pas rien !

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all they found was water at the bottom of the sea, Mic (GR)

Αν απαντάτε γρήγορα και αυθόρμητα πού είναι το Saskatoon και ποιός ευαίσθητος hip hoper κατάγεται από εκεί, είστε θεοί, έχετε σίγουρα στα χέρια σας, ζεστή, την καινούρια κυκλοφορία του καναδού Soso, από την πρωτεύουσα της επαρχίας Saskatchewan (προφέρεται με δυσκολία) και η ανάγνωση του κειμένου αυτού περισσεύει. Οι υπόλοιποι περάστε στις πιο κάτω γραμμές παρακαλώ.

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Nestor Wynrush – Trinnipeg !78

Nestor Wynrush - Trinnipeg !78

CD | CHR016 2009

Six years after his debut record, Guy, I’m From Here, Nestor Wynrush raises the curtain on his newest creation, Trinnipeg !78. On this record, Wynrush (the fabulist) rides the rails from Winnipeg to Toronto, rapping bluesology and forgetting his heart on the window seat at every whistle stop. On board the train with Wynrush are some of Western Canada’s elite. Beats on the new album are provided by soso, mcenroe, Odario Williams, and DJ Kutdown with offerings from undercover upstarts Murdock and Lonnie Ce. Guest appearances by JUNO award winner and DMC Canadian champion, DJ Brace and Grand Analog round out the roster.

The songs are an ode to Canadiana in all its subtle, tragic glory. Trinnipeg!78 is a celebration of roots, agonized love and good times. At times Wynrush’s lyrics describe the painful quest for identity in a “multicultural” society — a quest to find one’s voice in a crowded room. Trinnipeg !78 – The place that he was proudly born into.

TRACK LISTING

01. Winnipeg South Blues
02. Accent (Peanut Punch)
03. Coprock
04. Blood Rock
05. So High (The Richardson)
06. High Park Sunrise
07. Ole Mine Town feat. Grand Analog
08. Metro Radio feat. DJ Brace
09. Liks
10. Garbage Hill

soso & DJ Kutdown – all they found was water at the bottom of the sea

The new instrumental album produced by soso and DJ Kutdown is slated for release on Hue Records, Japan. Blending their very different but complementary production styles — soso providing the melody arrangements and Kutdown providing the drum sequences — All They Found was Water at the Bottom of the Sea was created in the spirit of collaboration and friendship. The album retains the character that defined much of their earlier work and reflects their ongoing appreciation for beautiful samples and drums that smack.

soso & DJ Kutdown – all they found was water at the bottom of the sea
CD
HUIP-1043 2009
BUY on iTunes

TRACK LISTING

01. all ties cast off
02. hand over fist
03. like old folks like rain
04. under the yoke
05. knots and lumps
06. for anything I know
07. and all good things

soso – Choke You With a Rag

soso teams up with Swiss upstart label, mism, to release a split 7inch. Over another inspired Maki production, soso channels the ghosts of never will be. “Choke You With a Fucking Rag” is a clenched jaw expression of disgust, disillusionment and frustration. Listening to this record will give you an ulcer. The flip side features French supergroup and my good friends, Motionless. Limited to 300 copies, this 7 inch features artwork by Toak.

soso – Choke You With a Rag
7 inch
mism02 2009
OUT OF PRINT

Tinfoil on the Windows, Sparkplugg (US)

Soso is better than alright; in fact I’d say it’s great. Ambient, pretty, and undulating, the music washes over you like a giant reverb-laden sedative cocktail. In contrast, Tinfoil On the Windows is lyrically blunt and anguished. The vocals are a mixture of singing and talking, at times reminiscent of that “Wear Sunscreen” song from the nineties — but done right (only minimally cheesy). Soso is not afraid to tackle those high notes, however creakily… but this is the type of music where you want a little creak. A little reality. The album is diverse, and the mood changes from fevered to lazily meandering and back again. I like when you can tell that a musical project is someone’s “baby;” their pride and joy. And I think this is one of those projects.

Tinfoil on the Windows, Pop News (FR)

Cet album, ce devait être le plus ambitieux de soso. Sorti chez Endemik, label plus exposé et mieux distribué que le sien, enregistré avec la guitare et le son rock de son ami Maybe Smith, “Tinfoil on the Windows” visait sans doute à donner une nouvelle dimension au rappeur et producteur le plus singulier du Saskatchewan. Et de fait, l’affaire s’annonçait plutôt bien. A mesure qu’approchait la date de sortie de l’album, on a vu soso mentionné là où il ne l’avait jamais été (c’est-à-dire, ou peu s’en faut, n’importe où en dehors du présent site). C’est pourtant le même personnage que sur les très bons “Birthday Songs” et “Tenth Street & Clarence” qui se retrouve ici. Le rap de soso se traduit toujours par ce spoken word introspectif et ces quelques poussées de chant aigu et étranglé. Il y a toujours cette histoire d’amour névrosé et noyé dans l’alcool, ces mêmes évocations d’une vie paumée dans le grand nord lugubre des prairies canadiennes, ces mêmes aphorismes à vous démoraliser un régiment (“the absence of pain is often mistaken for happiness”) déclamés avec sècheresse et justesse. Il y a même ces petits détails issus de la vie courante dont soso a toujours était friand, comme ces cris d’oiseau qui ouvrent le disque ou les grincements qui accompagnent le piano de “Floorboards On”.

Continue reading “Tinfoil on the Windows, Pop News (FR)”

Tinfoil on the Windows, Norman Records (UK)

Lastly from me before I go out and clatter someone for stealing my (empty) wallet this aft (no joke, a friend got stabbed last night in a mugging too. All go round these parts….) is soso’s latest ‘Tinfoil on the Windows’. This is occasionally more along the lines of Buck 65 with intelligent & poignant lyrical flows over shimmering steel guitar & intermittent big, crashing drums that recall Flaming Lips. One section throws meandering post-rock shapes like Godspeed grimacing at that bloopy android fridge dumped by Grandaddy in 2001. Another is Daniel Johnson-esque rush of regretful “sozzle & strum”. There’s a sparsity & bleakness here that really affects you. The songs are quietly arresting, interspersed with some tender minimalism & experimentalism. I’d say staple these many references together and if yr tits are leaking milk at the prospect then yr obviously ready to embrace Troy Gronsdahl’s melancholy world!

Tinfoil on the Windows, Fake For Real (FR)

Cet album, ce devait être le plus ambitieux de soso. Sorti chez Endemik, label plus exposé et mieux distribué que le sien, enregistré avec la guitare et le son rock de son ami Maybe Smith, Tinfoil on the Windows visait sans doute à donner une nouvelle dimension au rappeur et producteur le plus singulier du Saskatchewan. Et de fait, l’affaire s’annonçait plutôt bien. A mesure qu’approchait la date de sortie de l’album, on a vu soso mentionné là où il ne l’avait jamais été (c’est-à-dire, ou peu s’en faut, n’importe où en dehors du présent site). C’est pourtant le même personnage que sur les très bons Birthday Songs et Tenth Street & Clarence qui se retrouve ici. Le rap de soso se traduit toujours par ce spoken word introspectif et ces quelques poussées de chant aigu et étranglé. Il y a toujours cette histoire d’amour névrosé et noyé dans l’alcool, ces mêmes évocations d’une vie paumée dans le grand nord lugubre des prairies canadiennes, ces mêmes aphorismes à vous démoraliser un régiment (“the absence of pain is often mistaken for happiness”) déclamés avec sècheresse et justesse. Il y a même ces petits détails issus de la vie courante dont soso a toujours était friand, comme ces cris d’oiseau qui ouvrent le disque ou les grincements qui accompagnent le piano de “Floorboards On”.

Continue reading “Tinfoil on the Windows, Fake For Real (FR)”

Tinfoil on the Windows, 3 Bar Fire (UK)

‘Tinfoil on The Windows’ will be, for a lot of readers, the first time you’ve heard of a musician/poet/public addresser who goes by the name of, Soso. But one can rest assured that this Canadian is fully aware that “that local hero shit is wack”.

Falling somewhere between country, alt rock and the softly spoken word Soso manages to encapsulate thoughts we’ve all run through hundreds of times before in that sludgy mush we’ve got inside our respective skull pieces. His home truths and intriguing thought processes melt willfully into your ears and being left with shuddering ear lobes, perky arm hairs and cold elbows has never felt so damn good.

Continue reading “Tinfoil on the Windows, 3 Bar Fire (UK)”

soso – Tinfoil on the Windows (Japan)

soso - Tinfoil on the Windows
Weaving compelling personal narratives with his sparse, beautiful production style, the Saskatchewan-based artist, soso has become a fixture of the avant-garde hip hop/art rap movement.

In an ongoing effort to privilege experimentation and risk, soso adopted a collaborative approach for his latest production. Enlisting the talents of his friend, tour-mate and indie-rock darling, Maybe Smith, Tinfoil on the Windows is the most musically ambitious and creative soso release to date.

soso delivers fragile vocal melodies and close, confessional lyrics over an assemblage of field recordings, electronic bleeps, programmed drums and sprawling instrumentation evocative of My Bloody Valentine and Do Make Say Think. Additional contributions from Maki and Scott Da Ros add punch to the lovely melodic soundscapes. Tinfoil on the Windows challenges typical genre conventions and soso treads this unfamiliar ground with crafty song writing and integrity.

Buy on iTunes

soso – Tinfoil on the Windows

soso - Tinfoil on the Windows

Weaving compelling personal narratives with his sparse, beautiful production style, the Saskatchewan-based artist, soso has become a fixture of the avant-garde hip hop/art rap movement. In an ongoing effort to privilege experimentation and risk, soso adopted a collaborative approach for his latest production. Enlisting the talents of his friend, tour-mate and indie-rock darling, Maybe Smith, Tinfoil on the Windows is the most musically ambitious and creative soso release to date.

soso delivers fragile vocal melodies and close, confessional lyrics over an assemblage of field recordings, electronic bleeps, programmed drums and sprawling instrumentation evocative of My Bloody Valentine and Do Make Say Think. Additional contributions from Maki and Scott Da Ros add punch to the lovely melodic soundscapes. Tinfoil on the Windows challenges typical genre conventions and soso treads this unfamiliar ground with crafty song writing and integrity.

 

Buy on iTunes

soso – Bachelors’ Drinking Club

soso – Bachelors’ Drinking Club

Bachelors’ Drinking Club is CHR’s first foray into the realm of video. Documenting his 2006 tour of the same name, this DVD features live performance footage from soso and Maybe Smith as well as performances by fellow indie-rap cohorts like Epic, Bleubird, Gruf the Druid, Grubbs, Nestor Wynrush, Pip Skid and Thesis Sahib. Also features an insightful conversation with soso and the music video for Hungover for Three Days Straight (Don’t Matter). Limited to 100 copies. Running time 58 Min.

soso Bachelors’ Drinking Club from Troy Gronsdahl on Vimeo.

soso – Bachelors’ Drinking Club
DVD
CHR013-LE 2007
OUT OF PRINT

TRACK LISTING

01. Conversation with soso
02. Bachelors Drinking Club road music
03. soso & Maybe Smith – Returning to an Empty House
04. soso & Maybe Smith – Finding Out About a Big Pile of Stones
05. soso & Maybe Smith – Hungover for Three Days Straight (Don’t Matter)
06. soso & Maybe Smith – Sweet Euphemisms
07. Epic – Another Left Wing Peace Song
08. Epic – Dave Steib
09. Gruf – Process Assimilate
10. Gruf – Fillossaphee
11. Pip Skid – Bastid’s Verse
12. Pip Skid – Elbow Grease
13. Nestor Wynrush –
14. Bleubird – Pilgrim of St. Zotique
15. Grubbs – War Drum
16. Thesis Sahib – What Kind of a Rap Photography Show is This?
17. Thesis Sahib – Inside Voices
18. Thesis Sahib – Theo Sasquatch
19. Thesis Sahib – Mud Pies
20. Maybe Smith Thanks the Drake Hotel (in its empty glory)
21. Hungover for Three Days Straight (Don’t Matter) music video

Birthday Songs, Pop News (FR)

L’an dernier, il y a eu un petit frémissement critique autour de soso. “Tenth Street & Clarence”, son dernier album, a recueilli les suffrages favorables de gens extérieurs au petit cercle des fans habituels de Clothes Horse Records. Et comme il faut toujours battre le fer tant qu’il est chaud, les Japonais du label Hue ont trouvé le moment adéquat pour rééditer ces jours-ci un “Birthday Songs” vieux de quatre ans, le meilleur album à ce jour du Canadien. Fidèles à leur irréprochable politique de sortie, ils ne le proposent pas tel quel, mais sous un nouveau packaging, avec note explicative en japonais et paroles dans les deux langues. L’intéressé lui-même s’est joint à l’effort. Il est responsable de ce chien sur fond blanc qui remplace le gâteau d’anniversaire qui ornait la pochette précédente. Et il a revu, corrigé et ajouté certains titres.

Continue reading “Birthday Songs, Pop News (FR)”

soso – birthday songs (Japan)

soso – birthday songs (Japan)

In 2002, soso released this collection of well crafted songs, marking his progression as both a lyricist and beat smith. Characterized by beautiful, haunting beats and poignant lyrics, Birthday Songs asserted itself as one the finest productions of the year. In 2006, soso teamed up with Hue Records to release a revamped version of Birthday Songs for Japanese release! Featuring two additional songs, re-worked vocals and new artwork.

 

Buy on iTunes

soso – tenth street and clarence (Germany)

soso – tenth street and clarence

Informed by culture and place, soso spins narratives that interweave family and social histories with landscape and weather. His third self-produced release, tenth street and clarence is a beautiful, poetic effort. This limited edition LP released by the German imprint Subversiv features new full colour artwork.

 

Stagnation and Woe, Hip Hop Core (FR)

“Injuries are something to be enjoyed”. Pas de doute: Recyclone est de retour. Presque une décennie après ses débuts discographiques au sein d’une scène d’Halifax alors bourgeonnante, l’auteur de Dead World trouve enfin une occasion de trouver la reconnaissance qu’il mérite, grâce à son association avec soso. L’an passé déjà, en rééditant les deux premiers EP’s de Recyclone sous la forme d’un Corroding The Dead World indispensable, soso avait tenu à rappeler le rôle majeur de Jon Hutt dans l’apparition d’une voix canadienne sans réel équivalent au pays de l’oncle Sam… Une voix hors du temps et des modes, qui n’a cessé de nourrir l’éthique irréprochable de CHR depuis sa création.

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Epic – Local Only

Epic – Local Only

Vinyl LP | CHR005-2 2005

We’ve teamed up with Subversiv, one of Europe’s finest imprints for the release of Local Only on limited edition vinyl with new artwork and full colour covers!

Two years in the making, Local Only represents the most comprehensive Epic release to date. Over a fine collection of beats, Epic drops verses about aging rappers, creditors and everyday injustice with his trademark wit and unorthodox flow. Epic enlisted the talents of some of Canada’s finest including mic rippers, Pip Skid, Micill Write, and Conspiracy, turntablist, Kutdown and beatmakers soso, Maki and Muneshine (Lightheaded).

TRACK LISTING

01. Running Away from Saskatoon
02. Old Guys Are Ready to Rock the Mic f. Micill Write
03. Midnight Move f. Pip Skid
04. Bring the Heat
05. My Briefcase is a Weapon
06. Towtruck
07. Poor People Are Scummy
08. Middle Aged White Guy
09. Where’s the Cipher
10. It Ain’t Easy
11. Masses f. Conspiracy
12. ame 109

Epic – Local Only

Epic – Local Only

CD | CHR005 2004

Two years in the making, Local Only represents the most comprehensive Epic release to date. Over a fine collection of beats, Epic drops verses about aging rappers, creditors and everyday injustice with his trademark wit and unorthodox flow. Epic enlisted the talents of some of Canada’s finest including mic rippers, Pip Skid, Micill Write, and Conspiracy, turntablist, Kutdown and beatmakers soso, Maki and Muneshine (Lightheaded).

TRACK LISTING

01. Running Away from Saskatoon
02. Old Guys Are Ready to Rock the Mic f. Micill Write
03. Midnight Move f. Pip Skid
04. Bring the Heat
05. My Briefcase is a Weapon
06. Towtruck
07. Poor People Are Scummy
08. Middle Aged White Guy
09. Where’s the Cipher
10. Untitled
11. It Ain’t Easy
12. Masses f. Conspiracy
13. ame 109

soso – The Goose Hunter pt 1 & 2

soso – The Goose Hunter pt 1 & 2 soso – The Goose Hunter pt 1 & 2

For the first single from tenth street and clarence, soso extended his capable reach into the realm of instrumental hip hop music. The sound of migrating geese create the backdrop for this evocative two-part piece characterized by beautiful melodies, haunting vocal bits and smart drum compositions. For the limited edition 7″ soso enlisted the talents of visual artist Tamara Bond. Each piece is numbered and signed by soso.

soso – The Goose Hunter pt 1 & 2
Limited edition 7″
CHR006 2005

TRACK LISTING

01 The Goose Hunter pt 1
02 The Goose Hunter pt 2

soso – poor man’s survey

soso – poor man’s survey

A companion piece for the soso 7″, this is a selection of soso’s favourite instrumentals culled from various projects and presented as the poor man’s survey of his work to date. A limited edition disc, individually signed, numbered and made with care.

soso – poor man’s survey
Limited edition CDr
CHR007-LE 2004
OUT OF PRINT

TRACK LISTING

01. *
02. dust
03. Dave Steib
04. hand to the plow
05. middle aged white guy
06. dyke look
07. pretty mound of dirt
08. it goes
09. EPMD
10. towtruck
11. girls
12. it ain’t easy
13. midnight run
14. running away from Saskatoon
15. thought process
16. marcus and tom for city hall
17. cool run ins – Epic & Conspiracy*
* indicates exclusive bonus tracks

Birthday Songs, Ugsmag (CAN)

This is a difficult album to review. I was introduced to Soso with the Sour Suite EP and was incredibly surprised at the quality of an album coming from a relatively unknown MC from a relatively unknown city, at least for its hip hop community, Saskatoon. It’s been two and a half years since I wrote a review for Sour Suite, and after a great deal of procrastination I finally am sitting down to write a review for Birthday Songs. So, what’s changed in the meantime? Everything, and nothing.

Continue reading “Birthday Songs, Ugsmag (CAN)”

Epic – Heater in My Truck 

Epic - Heater in My Truck

Vinyl Ep | CHR004 2003

Released in anticipation of his upcoming album, Heater In My Truck features that combination of charming wit and socially relevant lyrics we’ve come to expect from Epic. The beats knock dang it — superb production handled by soso and Maki. Conspiracy and Ben.e Elim lend their talents on two songs and Kutdown drops by on a couple of tracks to fucking kill it!

TRACK LISTING

SIDE A
01. Poor People Are Scummy
02. I Only Like Rap
03. Girls f. Ben.e Elim
04. Petty Theft on Da Ave
05. Poor People Are Scummy Inst.
06. Old Guys Are Ready to Ric the Mic Inst.

SIDE B
07. It Ain’t Easy
08. Masses f. Conspiracy
09. It Ain’t Easy Instrumental
10. Petty Theft on Da Ave Instrumental

Birthday Songs, Hip Hop Section (FR)

Les anniversaires sont loin d’être gais chez le canadien Soso, à en juger par les chansons particulièrement déprimées “entonnées” sur son dernier EP, Birthday Songs. Ce constat n’étonnera en rien ceux qui ont eu l’occasion d’écouter Sour Suite, un premier essai que le rappeur, DJ et producteur du Saskatchewan avait sorti en 2000. Les quelques plages de ce nouveau disque y répandent en effet les mêmes sons squelettiques et dépouillés, la même ambiance sobre et dépressive.

Continue reading “Birthday Songs, Hip Hop Section (FR)”

Epic – 8:30 in Newfoundland

Epic - 8:30 in Newfoundland

CD | CHR002 2001

8:30 in Newfoundland Epic’s first comprehensive release, some emcee-type shit…proving once and for all he’s a “militant goon.” A collaborative effort, production by soso with the one good beat provided by Gumshoe Strut and some dope contributions from M.Phasis, Your Brother in my Backpack, soso, Pip Skid.

TRACK LISTING

01. thought process
02. live from the SaskatoonClub
03. Mic Geronimo
04. Fast words slow
05. dog shit tired
06. Canada Student Loans
07. My Friends Like My Songs
08. EPMD
09. 13% rant
10. Subject to a Change
11. Dave Steib
12. Midnight Run

soso – birthday songs

soso – birthday songs soso – birthday songs

In 2002, soso released his eagerly anticipated album entitled birthday songs. This collection of well crafted songs marks the progression of soso as both lyricist and beat smith. Characterized by beautiful, haunting beats and poignant lyrics, birthday songs asserts itself as one the finest productions of the year. Nominated for 2003 Western Canadian Music Award for Outstanding Rap/Hip Hop Recording.

 

soso – birthday songs
enhanced CD
CHR003 2002
OUT OF PRINT

TRACK LISTING

01 waiting for the harmonica to drop
02 it goes
03 for Ruby
04 pretty mound of dirt
05 dyke look
06 birthday song
07 hand to the plow
08 we always thought she’d be the first to go

sour suite, HHI (US)

Most Canadian hip hop artists I’ve been exposed to thus far have shared one common attribute: originality. The work of Sebutones, The Goods, Josh Martinez, and the Peanuts & Corn collective could hardly be labeled as anything but creative. Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Soso also shares this trait with his countrymen. Soso’s Sour Suite EP is highly original, as well as exceedingly sincere.

Continue reading “sour suite, HHI (US)”

sour suite, Hip Hop Section (FR)

Et un canadien, un de plus. Et même si celui ne sort pas de la scène d’Halifax, son approche, elle, ressemble dangereusement à celle des Sebutones (Buck 65 et Sixtoo) ou autres The Goods (Kunga219 et Gordski). Soso, lui arrive directement de Saskatoon, dans le Saskatchewan, une province pas spécialement connue pour sa scène hip hop. Pour la bonne raison, sans doute, que Sour Suite, comme les œuvres des artistes mentionnés plus tôt, ne correspond pas trop à l’imagerie rap. Pourtant, tous les éléments habituels au genre s’y retrouvent : le type en question rappe sur des beats lourds, heurtés et insistants, agrémentés de samples et de quelques scratches discrets, qu’il produit également. Mais le tout, et cela fait la différence, avec une précision et un dépouillement relativement rares, et une mélancolie plus qu’annoncée par le titre du EP.

Continue reading “sour suite, Hip Hop Section (FR)”

soso – sour suite

soso – sour suite

Clothes Horse Records inaugural release. A conceptual six track ep, soso marries rich production with tales of infinite woe. This vinyl offering includes six songs as well as two instrumentals. All beats, cuts and vocals by soso, with contributions from Epic and John Smith.

soso – sour suite
Vinyl EP
CHR001 2000
OUT OF PRINT

TRACK LISTING

A01 untitled (paralysis)
A02 drink f. John Smith
A03 blessed f. Epic
A04 drink instrumental
B01 dust
B02 loss
B03 swan song
B04 loss instrumental