Canadian rapper Soso began as your average backpacker, full of thoughtful and often socially conscious rhymes and low-key beats. Tinfoil on the Windows, a collaboration with fellow Saskatoon musician Maybe Smith, is a complete change of pace that doesn’t belong in any given genre.
The nearly ten-minute epic opening track “Rubber Rings” builds slowly from an opening of white noise into a quietly tense post-rock effort not unlike Explosions in the Sky. Soso doesn’t even show up until nearly four minutes have gone by, and after a verse that’s closer to spoken word poetry than rap, he swings into a keening falsetto sung chorus that owes much to Radiohead. From that stylistically daring opening, Tinfoil on the Windows veers into avant-folk in the style of Will Oldham or (Smog), with sparse, echo-drenched guitar lines, minimal electronic beats, and tantalizingly unidentifiable noises that spur scene-setting pictures in the listener’s mind. Over these, Soso’s conservational, near-spoken verses sound almost uncomfortably intimate in their close-mic’ed directness and starkly autobiographical themes. Undeniably strange but weirdly compelling, with echoes of everyone from cult Texas weirdo Jandek to shoegazer gods My Bloody Valentine, Tinfoil on the Windows is one of 2007’s most difficult to categorize albums.
– Stewart Mason