Sergiodeartist has been someone Rap Religion has closely watched for years. When he released his previous project, “Fabric.”, we took the time to listen and review it. Now, a couple years later, he’s released his latest project, “Sorcery”. And with new ears – we dive into it:
The closest listening experience I can compare Sorcery to is Yves Tumor’s “Heaven To A Tortured Mind” but not from a music perspective but rather, both albums feel like walking through the mind of a high level creative. The random sounds that shouldn’t work but do, the ominous production that marries the vibe perfectly and the deep lyricism, that keeps going on and on. Never allowing you to fully understand what was said in moment but leaving you convinced that whatever was said is a whole different rabbit hole in its own right. Yves Tumor’s “music” is categorized as noise rock due to the fact it seems to be everything rock (punk, alternate rock, indie or heavy metal) while never exactly being one of those sub-genres, it sounds like everything.
Sorcery has rap verses, spoken word verses and R&B interludes. It has everything mixed in an odd way but it works. It makes it a unique listening experience, especially for new listeners (such as myself). Genre switching seems to be happening every 45 seconds making each song an experience, it’s not rare for a spoken word verse to be followed by what would qualify as an R&B interlude (“Spells and Spirals”). This album is a creative showcase with the subject matter of every song almost being something new while maintaining the down and out but still hopeful vibe throughout. Just a look through the tracklist will show how each song is it’s on individual listening experience.
The Lyricism Of Sorcery
“I wrote suicide notes for the best authors...... Still, I need colourful pills so I don't turn still......I will be fine If I filll my pride in bowls of rice” (Spells and Spirals ). Such “Wait, what???” lyrics are common throughout Sorcery. SergioDeartist seeks to trap you in a permanent confused space trying to decipher exactly what he’s saying and whether these hard-to-decipher verses have greater themes. For example, on No Place, Sergio spends 30 seconds describing a journey to Heaven in vivid detail, only to conclude “it was just a feeling really and the clouds were grey and there was nothing like a fruitless day. I find myself going no place, endless drifting in amazing grace.” Lyrics like this alongside multiple voice clippings from other videos help create a maze, that the listener must navigate to get the whole meaning of one song - let alone the whole album. A song like “The Misery Of Your Need To Be” could be 3 separate songs with their own identities, “Airplane Doom” seeks to up your anxiety with a very depressing cut out from an interview, discussing the black void which can be life sometimes. This clipping, which is surrounded by distorted sounds and loud whispers - you can’t exactly make out what’s said and meant, leading the listener deeper into a confused state. The majority of the lyrics are depressing but also seem hopeful in a weird way. No matter how dark the lyrics or subject matter may go, Sergiodeartist always tries to express positivity at some point – to balance out the negative vibe that the subject matter may give you (“Dragon Fly”).
The album opens on “Dim Mak” with a distorted voice over ominous production, which will be a constant theme throughout the project. The production, like the lyrics, is all over the place but works well. This is best expressed on “Light That Dims The Sun”, which is minimalist for a moment then the sample takes centre stage before fading away with a chopped sample. Many songs on this album let the production breath for a long period of time before a verse even begins (“Nocturnal”) while other songs establish the vibe early and do a good job of carrying it throughout the rest of the song, even if the production or vibe does change halfway through the song. “Amortentia” happens to be the most renowned love potion in the book series, Harry Potter, this theme is carried well by the production of the track and R&B star, Ipeleng. Shortly after, Sergio delivers verse in spoken word about being deeply in love with someon. This is the versatility that this album possesses. It can go from a deeply depressing stretch that opens the album into a more light hearted side which carries through from “Amortentia” to “Animism”. All features exist in Sergio’s world really well and help establish and carry the vibe on each track be it Westside Kam on Lexington Ave, Roho on Something’s In The Water and many more.
The album is also extremely experimental. Experimentalism is a double edged sword in some way, as when it hits – it’s a unique and great listening experience (“Airplane Doom”). While when it misses, it just leaves the listener in a confused space, listening to a distorted voice with random sounds just going off. Luckily the album hits more than it misses so this is minor criticism. It’s a critique that all experimental artists face, due to the unique sounds and subject matter being discussed, attention is necessary. And attention is not something every listener will be willing to give, this is definitely a sit down and absorb type album. One which requires multiple listens to appreciate all the samples and production and to get all the call backs and call forwards hidden within the verses. Also, due to the length of the album and the long maze-like spoken word verses, it’s easy to check out the vibe. However, the previous criticism also applies to Tyler The Creator’s IGOR and he managed to overcome these pitfalls and drop what many consider the best album of 2019. A shorter, more concise project where Sergio attempts the difficult balance of expresses himself, his thoughts, all the interludes and subject matter without losing his experimental touch is the next step for a very promising artist.
Written by Elijah Mwamba | Twitter @ElijahMWamba24
Edited by Dithekgo Mogadime | Twitter @DithekgoM