When people talk about anticipated albums, there are always a few names that float around for ages yet never seem to drop. Case in point would be the In the Shadows’ EP by DJ Silence. The man can be forgiven for his tardiness though, as he has been busy being your DJ, and most of Perth’s DJ. Thankfully though, the EP did finally drop through Community Records. It’s a short, sharp and effective effort, with a strong sample-based sound and an eclectic array of emcees on each track.
Opening with ‘It was like that’ featuring the ever-on point FG, a short piece which serves to set the melancholy tone which one would anticipate from a DJ Silence EP. With the focus placed on the slowly rolling bass presence and crunch-ridden drums, the track is a nice throwback to an era of sample-based Hip Hop. Similarly, FG’s vocals add that same element. On first listen, you’re treated to a smoothly delivered, albeit jaded, love song. After several listens you’ll pick up on the complexity of his flow and rhyme schemes. Definitely worth those listens, and a great introduction to the EP.
Following this is ‘Nightfall’, featuring Wisdom2th and Perth-to-Melbourne export Cash KRZMA. While I’m familiar with Wisdom2th, I wasn’t too familiar with Cash KRZMA but if his input on this track are anything to go by, I’ll need to jump onto his catalogue. Nightfall lays claim to a dark and gloomy soundscape where the emcees offer a critical analysis of their city after-dark. Expect subdued drum patterns, complex wordplay and overcast imagery.
‘The Moments’ opens up a little more so as to not take the EP too far down the dark and miserable path. Featuring The Dead Edits, a group consisting of ex-Typhoons compatriots Empty and Lewis Galaga, The Moments is on a much more positive tip and has gladly seen some local radio airtime. Both emcees offer eloquent delivery and an abstract style, and the track is complimented by the hook and harmonization offered by Empty’s singing. The upbeat pace is maintained on ‘Stressed’ (featuring Mathas and Thorts), which brings a warming bass and military drums to the plate on which Mathas brings a Mathas-quality verse reminding us to take our minds off the mundane stressors in life. To this Thorts adds what is probably one of his best verses that I’ve heard. This pairing of emcees fits especially well, as both deliver off-kilter verse that remain interesting to the ear several listens deep.
Rounding off the EP is ‘Rose Thorn’ featuring DVS and Odette Mercy. Though it is difficult to choose, this is my pick form the album. It combines the faster-paced drums of the earlier tracks with some muted keys, and produces an uplifting canvas for DVS to deliver one of the better dressing-downs of society that I’ve heard in a while. The vocals are raw, the lyrics are damning, the effect is confronting. Add to this the merciless hook by Odette Mercy, and you have a powerful track.
My only criticism of ‘In the Shadows’ is the lack of scratching throughout. Given that Silence has one of the more natural, flowing scratch styles going around, it would’ve been good to see some of that on this project, though I’m sure there will be on the next.
By Ollie Read