Bliss n Eso: Flying Colours

 

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Australian Hip Hop has had a troubled existence. In its earliest inceptions it seemed little more than a bunch of white Australian tools pretending to be black gangsta rappers and there’s a good reason why it seemed that way; they were. In the last few years, however, there have been a number of evolutions in the genre that have resulted in a more interesting experience. Australian rappers had dispensed with the American accent and began rapping about what they knew about, as opposed to blunts, 40s and bitches we began hearing about commodores, springas and chicks (so basically still cars, weed and women but from a bogan perspective). There was another school of Australian Hip Hop that began to emerge, however, which focused on political issues. And so by the early 2000s Australia basically had its answers to NWA and Public Enemy. In the hedonistic West Coast corner we had the Hilltop Hoods spouting rhymes about getting drunk and laid and in the civil rights East Coast corner we had The Herd with lyrical epics about ingrained racism and the Australian political scene.

This presented me with a problem. I loved the production and wit of the Hilltop Hoods but got sick of them rapping about the same thing in every song. There were a couple of exceptions on their album, The Hard Road, but often they were fairly poorly executed and quickly reverted to the usual display of ego and dazzling puns. Conversely, I loved the message The Herd were putting out and agreed entirely with what they were saying but loathed their production. The music was dull and repetitive with a few notable exceptions. I craved Australian Hip Hop that could be meaningful, musical and entertaining all at once. You can imagine my delight when I heard this:

Bliss n Eso: The Sea is Rising

Catchy hook? Check.

Lush production? Check.

A combination of lyrics and music that make my heart want to explode? Check.

This is legitimate Hip Hop. It shows us what the genre is capable of and puts the half-arsed efforts of hundreds of pretenders to shame. It makes you want to sing, dance and weep with its breadth and beauty. It asks legitimate questions of the society we’ve built for ourselves and it asks them in line after line of what can only be described as poetry:

why are they refusing to listen
why are these troops on a mission
why are they shooting these victims over their view on religion
why do we all search for love like we got cupids addiction
why with politicians you can’t tell the truth from the fiction
why do we pollute where were living
why are these youth put at risk
why is this fool on dominion kept us consumed in this prison

I don’t want them to look back when the future was written
and know we killed ourselves with nuclear vision and stupid decisions
Shit I’d rather an asteroid due for collision then know the planet got fucked by the human condition

All of this adorned with strings, backing vocals and an addictive but unobtrusive drum beat. As if this wasn’t enough, unlike many Hip Hop singles (and many singles in general) when you begin to explore the rest of the album there is no shortage of A-Grade material.  Eye of the Storm, Bullet and a Target and Destiny Lane are all equally delightful. Since I bought this album two months ago I have listened to it every day, all the way through. When I leave the house, I take out my portable music device, find something and begin to listen. Nine times out of ten I find myself switching to Bliss n Eso after one or two tracks because nothing else cuts it.

To make matters worse (or better, depending on your point of view) Bliss n Eso released an exclusive Australian release with a bonus disk. Most bonus disks tend to be a collection of second rate material that didn’t make it to the album for a reason. Not so here. The bonus disk stands up as a complete EP of its own which I always listen to before listening to the album proper because the opening track of the bonus disk, The Dark Tower is a better opener than the one that appears on the main album. Have a listen and marvel:

Bliss n Eso: The Dark Tower

The perceptive amongst you will note the extensive use of the Dexter soundtrack. The deep, foreboding and creeping tone of the piece explodes into the strutting rap of MC Eso and sets the tone for the album like nothing else can. To make matters worse (or better, depending on whether you obtained the bonus disk) this bonus disk contains an alternate, acoustic take of the single Bullet and a Target which not only should have made it to the album but should have been the first single. This is by far my favorite Bliss n Eso song and the fact that its been relegated to a bonus disk is indicative of the talent of this group. I leave you with this track and sincerely hope you consider getting yourself a copy of this wonderful album.

Bliss n Eso: Bullet and a Target (Acoustic Version)

You can get yourself a copy of Bliss n Eso’s Flying Colours at J B Hi Fi Online and Bigpond Music.

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~ by Morgan on August 11, 2008.

11 Responses to “Bliss n Eso: Flying Colours”

  1. I’m not the only one to notice the Dexter sound track on Dark Tower then, fantastic eerie sound track so to hear it mixed on this was awesome.

    I really like this album, the comedy styles to some some songs and sound bites from the cricket where they crack up, fantastic.

    I really like “Eye of the Storm”, “The Sea is Rising” and this is after maybe a couple of plays….

    I picked this up on recommendation from a friend, I used to like aussie hip hop when i lived there. It’s been 2 years since then and since I am no longer there it’s very hard to pick up aussie hip hop out of context if you will, but this album brings me back to my time there…. superb!

  2. […] have noticed, since my review of Bliss n Eso’s Flying Colours album, that alot of people seem to be reaching our page by searching for Aussie Hip Hop and that […]

  3. i was wondering if you could help me understand the chorus to bullet and a target, i don’t understand what the bullet and target represents, who they are reffereing to and why and how they pull away.
    please help.

  4. My interpretation is generally that the song is saying that human beings have placed themselves in a no-win situation. In short, between the state of the environment, global conflicts and a global shortage of food and water we need to re-assess the way that we deal with each other and the planet we live on.

    I think you’re mis-hearing ‘pull away’. I belive the correct line is ‘putting yourself away’, which refers to being responisble for your own destruction.In short, being greedy, selfish and not having empathy for your fellow man is the same as standing in between someone who’s shooting a gun and the target they’re shooting at. Even if they miss the first couple of times, sooner or later, you’re going to get hurt.

    I hope that answers your question.

  5. wow, thanks heaps i never thought of it that way. i thought it might’ve meant that trying to change this situation alone is an impossible challenge and you’d end up giving up as in the into and concluding verse they state how alone we cannot accomplish much but together we can mke a difference. i’ve just looked on 20 different sites and even some from citizen cope’s original but they all say pulling, where did you find the putting yourself away version ?

  6. Hmmm…

    I thought I read it in the lyrics book, which has conveniently disappeared in the horrible mess that is my room… Gimme a couple of days to find it.

    I think you’re right about the importance of working together in the song and our interpretations are hardly mutually exclusive 🙂

  7. oh and why would they get hurt ? wouldn’t the people suffereing from poverty be the ones that would be getting hurt by the lack of empathy ?

  8. Well, I think with the global resources shortages, food riots and masses of refugees there are going to be very FEW people who suffer in the next century or so.

  9. […] a year that saw the release of Bliss ‘n’ Eso’s monolithic Flying Colours, The Herd’s razorblade-laced production bonanza Summerland, Astronomy Class and their […]

  10. […] a year that saw the release of Bliss ‘n’ Eso’s monolithic Flying Colours, The Herd’s razorblade-laced production bonanza Summerland, Astronomy Class and their […]

  11. […] have noticed, since my review of Bliss n Eso’s Flying Colours album, that alot of people seem to be reaching our page by searching for Aussie Hip Hop and that […]

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