New York emcee/producer Aesop Rock returning for his 10th full-length LP. Universally revered for his massive vocabulary, the man has put out a handful of underground hip hop essentials throughout the decades whether it be his solo catalogue or his membership of groups like Hail Mary Mallon or Malibu Ken. As far as his solo stuff: I recommend his sophomore effort & Definitive Jux Records debut Labor Day alongside The Impossible Kid, which was his 2nd album with Rhymesayers Entertainment whom Aesop had made himself home with for over a decade at this point. But coming off the Blockhead-produced Garbology couple years ago, Aesop’s now offering Integrated Tech Solutions.
After the “ITS Way” intro, the first song & lead single “Mindful Solutionism” is a self-produced industrial nerdcore opener with elements of glitch hop & some humorously abstract consciousness on the lyrical side of things whereas “Infinity Fill Goose Down”musically feels like a bit of a throwback to his early Def Jux days from the experimental noise rap production to the lyrics about always being into something. “Living Curfew” featuring billy woods finds the 2 discussing crystals being in the handle of their hands up to the ember over a fucking crazy sample leading into a brief lesson about “Pigeonometry” with some rap rock undertones to the beat.
“Kyanite Toothpick” blends industrial hip hop with boom bap & trap to declare that he’s on that Mobius shit just before “100 Feet Tall” goes for a quirkier sound talking about not letting any fools or suckas in his circle. “Salt & Pepper Squid” displays an incredibly charismatic flow from Aesop Rock as he flexes how y’all exactly know when he’s made it, but then “Time Moves Differently Here” goes for a spacier feeling instrumentally so he can end the first leg of the album pretty much talking about gluttony.
To start the 2nd half of Integrated Tech Solutions, “Aggressive Steven” fuses rap rock with boom bap & even some soul samples telling the story of the titular character while “Bermuda” keeps it dusty bringing more kicks & snares into the picture talking about flowers being sent to him. “By the River” goes for a jazzier vibe expressing how much he likes rivers while “All City Nerve Map” looks to get out of his own nightmare by himself over a boom bap beat with a blobby loop.
Hail Mary Mallon reunites for the rap rock-infused “Forward Compatibility Engine” letting it be known that this is for the roof dogs only while the “On Failure” interlude mixes more guitar riffs with kicks & snares admitting that he was thinking of Vincent Van Gogh recently. More specifically the Landscape with Snow painting. Getting back to the music: “Solid Gold” goes for more of a hardcore approach acknowledging he’s always looking out while “Vititus” is a luxurious boom bap cut dedicated to his grandmother. “Black Snow” hypnotically ends the album boasting that he got stacks covered by the stove.
Aesop’s output on Rhymesayers throughout these past 7 years have been his most conceptual since Labor Days & he continues to move towards that trajectory on Integrated Tech Solutions because this is the best thing he’s done for the Minnesota indie powerhouse since The Impossible Kid. We are introduced to an organization offering “lifestyle & industry-specific applications designed to curate a desired multi-experience” with his production probably being the leanest & most innovative.