With interstellar wordplay that runs rings around the average rapper, and smooth rhythm sections to sink yourself into loaded with concepts that get deep and nebulous like puddles filled to the brim with cloudy lemonade; this fresh LP plucked straight from Britain’s fertile underground is unlike anything you’ll hear this year. Fredo’s beats are as etheric and majestic as the album cover implies, and the rhymes from Cutta Chase are spun with mathematical accuracy and a tangible spiritual connection that manifests through the thoughtful lines he speaks. I’ve had to replay each song at least three times just to catch everything he’s putting down in order to form an opinion on it; so if you’re into diggin’ through your music for gems,The Fifth Element has got what you need in abundance. The intro Wide Eyed Owl begins with a comforting guitar tone as a sample explains the influence positive tonal inferences can have on reality, and the behaviour of the listener, and Cutta Chase proceeds to impart his weeded-out wisdom with lines that entangle your mind in a flurry of home truths and deft observations. Moonlight Melody showcases some nice minimal sampling that doesn’t intrude over the lucid lyricism the gifted MC fires off; as Cutta covers synchronicity, destiny, using positive mental imaging to manifest the future you want to experience and the cultivation of patience all in the space of the first minute; then when that snare echoes it’s first strike and the song picks up it’s full momentum; it’s a clear case you’re not listening to any old bedroom duo out to craft tracks about bags of draw and 5 panels. ‘Gather your balloons and travel to Mars, stand on your moon and gather your stars, channel your art, and do what you planned from the start, use your magic man this planet is ours.”
Drifting is a breath of fresh air on an already breezy LP. The clear, clean sounds that Fredo has laid down for Cutta Chase and Verb T to expound over make for supremely easy listening; as delicate piano melodies dance in the foreground, leaving room for passing brass notes to echo wistfully behind as the double snare hits and cheeky off-beat hi hat sneak in to create a judder that is smoothed over by the dulcet tones of the two MC’s. The mentally cleansing sounds continue on Potent (C) Interval, with some edutaining samples separating the verses, and Cutta Chase bringing his A game in every given moment, plucking inspiration from the ether the album’s title alludes to. The second verse seeing moments where he seems to be flowing straight from his higher self, through his body and out into the mic as his words dart from idea to idea with the speed of thoughts; and that ‘settling for dust, brother’ line definitely deserved the ‘whoo’ that came after it. Fredo’s horn samples and ride rhythms drip off the track like warm rain, and the thick bass that unassumingly rolls through underneath it all expands the sound exponentially, giving it a hazy, soft neon glow. Whoever this man is, he deserves all the production props you can give him.
Frankie Stew has had what I affectionately call the ‘slightly-upset-white-guy’ corner of rap covered for a while now, his words are always poetically inclined and his delivery is heartfelt and interesting. I’m not 100%, but i’m pretty sure he said ‘fuck Two Chainz’ in his verse, so he automatically gets top marks from me for lyricism; and from his work with Harvey Gunn in the past and 07239 being such a subtle banger, this talented kid gets my backing on whatever he does. Cutta’s verse is deep as ever, and offers insightful ideas without preaching, instead referring back to his own experience as a guide for others to take inspiration from; offering that ‘nothing’s gettin better til you let it’ and rhyming some nice couplets; ‘I’m trying to be the light and see the lining on my lime cloud, trying to keep climbing, keep shining like the lighthouse, fly south, settle with nettles & the night owls, trying to find the focus, finer things I’m trying to find out.’ His voice is built for songs like this, and by resisting the urge to slip into more lugubrious terrain too often, the dejected tone and tales of striving to find the positive amidst darkness is what makes The Light House shine brightly. Fredo’s cleverly arranged horns play call and response over two octaves on Lovers Lament. A familiar story of passion and pain, that makes for a thematic proving ground where MC’s really get tested; the idea’s been done to death, but Cutta Chase not only flies through the conceptual pitfall that a love song could become without batting an eye, but makes it a relatively un-soppy affair at the same time; writing some emotive lines that stick in your mind like the fabricated responsibilities card companys will have many men fulfilling this month. The second stanza is where the song really takes off, as the lines increase in their urgency, and flow so fast from the lovelorn MC’s page to your ears you’d be hard pressed to not feel the emotional impact from the weight of his words.
The Laws Of Attraction remix is one of my favourite songs at the moment for many reasons. The beat is as amazing as you’d expect from Fredo by this point, the short, interrupting nature of his chops making for great listening that surpasses most female sample-driven tracks of this nature. Cutta Chase’s delivery is exactly as carefully articulated as it needs to be: packing enough force to hold your attention while not disturbing the tranquil waters the instrumental invokes with any unnecessary ripples, and Smoovth’s verse provides balance against Cutta’s voice well. Whether you believe in co-creation and the laws of attraction or not, this tune will have you manifesting some seriously enjoyable musical experience into your 5-sense reality in no time.
“And these times I’m sitting here drifting, sold self knowledge for the soul, this is thinking, listen, you gotta live life and learn to love it, wisdom.”
The outro God Jinxing adds the capstone to this lyrical pyramid with as much care taken as when the pair placed the first blocks and began building seven songs ago; the tone echoes the album’s beginning and comples the cycle like a musical Oroborous. Lyrically it’s one of best verses on the album, I’d go further into it but there’s too many gems to quote, I’d end up typing out the whole verse. This last sixteen finds the MC flowing from the heart again with unbridled passion, it’s as if he’s melting the barrier between his thoughts and his spoken words with the fire that propels him; and the change in flow he employs on the last few bars is near impenetrable. At times it’s as though Cutta Chase rhymes so earnestly and with such positive drive he almost raises his vibration into a higher dimension and disappears from this physical realm altogether. It’s safe to say if you’re meditating and ascension-seeking, not out in the clubs attention seeking, then no doubt The Fifth Element is for you; but whatever your personal musical or spiritual preference, there’s much to be found for all seekers of good music here.
The 8 track album is available digitally from the duo’s bandcamp right now.