Remember that Navi guy? The smooth flowing rapper? What happened to him?
My introduction to Navi came ‘back in the day’ via the now defunct Rhyme Torrents (now the stagnant Nerdcore Now) forums. It must have been around 2008/9 when I downloaded his Grayscale Trailer Mixtape, a sampler that featured some really catchy tracks including It All Falls and the popular Don’t Call Me (Unless It’s Zombies). His smooth flow almost felt like a freestyle at times, even when it was obvious that the lyrics had been crafted over time and infused with a cool sense of humour.
What followed, eventually and very behind schedule, was Grayscale (proper), Beyond Grayscale, Lo Fi Muey Thai and finally in 2011 Amadeus Rorschach. It’s been a hell of a gap since that last release. That’s not to say that Navi has been resting on his laurels. He’s been fronting the band The Whole Damme Delegation, a blend of styles and sounds from a live experience as well as taking a prominent role in The Delegation Music. Most recently he can be found guesting on the new album from Dopey Zeigler.
Now, three years since Amadeus Rorschach, the proponent of what he labels ‘homebrew music’ is back with a new release. Far smaller in scale than it’s double figure tracklisting predecessors, Interrobang? is a short but sweet six track EP, and I’ve been lucky enough to hear it ahead of release.
Opening track The Honey Spot! lulls you into a weird direction before hitting you with a punchy guitar riff and dominant lyrics. Navi’s style is as distinctive as I remember with that smooth feel and almost hesitant style of delivery. Just when you settle into a groove he mixes things up and begins ranting or shouting. Dead Man’s Things is orchestral at it’s heart with organic sounding drums and plenty of twists and turns.
None of the tracks are particularly long which means we’re at the half way point in no time at all. It’s a great place to be, Alexandra’s Clean Jeans is a wonderfully vibrant track that again takes you by surprise. Straight verses give way to a discordant chorus that displays a keen talent for a hook. Easy beats are emphasised with a cool guitar loop. This is my stand-out without doubt.
Picnibus was a late addition to the release, hitting my inbox independently of the rest of EP, which gives an indication as to how fresh this new music from Navi is. It’s another easy-on-the-ear track with natural drums and interesting layers of instrumentation.
Expiration Date!? is a different prospect to proceedings this far. With an ambient, trance feel to it Navi delivers restrained vocals over programmed beats with an up tempo chorus. The track samples Tove Lo’s Habits Remix (feat. Hippie Sabotage). Interrobang? winds up on a more lively note. El Jefe! is fast paced with frenzied drums and excited guitars.
As with any release from Navi, you need to pay close attention to the lyrics. Often tinged with humour there are some quite abrasive elements too, but they’re always smart.
Interrobang? feels like a re-introduction to an artist that went off the radar for a while for the majority of nerdcore fans. And whilst I wouldn’t categorise this EP as nerdcore, it feels like a warm up for something bigger. Enjoyable, but just a teaser.
Interrobang? is released today and you can find all the details on the facebook event page.