In a mini, four-track compilation, Aesop Rock just released two new singles (“Cat Food”, “Bug Zapper”) and their corresponding instrumentals via iTunes. The NY-rooted emcee’s last release in 2012, Skelethon, harbored a kind of dark hyperactivity; Rock’s keen wordplay trudged through mucky, industrial-sounding beats (“Cycles to Gehenna”, “ZZZ Top”), melting tongue-twisted cyphers with brain-quaking distortion, zapping synths, and drum-machine loops (“Zero Dark Thirty”, “Fryerstarter”). Weird but succinct, the acclaimed album employed pure hip-hop experimentalism and wildness, so it’s no surprise that Cat Food makes for an equally grungy, sound-tangling successor.
Its foot-stomping, Celtic instrumental conceived by longtime producer Blockhead, “Cat Food” intros as a dip into Rock’s imagination and bizarre metaphorical display: (“At night I wear a wolf’s head on my regular head, Considering a regular character sketch/ Food hoarder, communes with the flora/ Computes in cahoots with beauty and brute force…). Perplexing rhymes and mind-melting lyrics aside, it all just sounds cool.
Aesop Rock has always made weird music for weird misfits, a small percentage of his lyrics making much initial sense–but without fail, impressing on the basis of crafty word-scrambling. On “Bug Zapper”, Rock unveils his dream of outcasts running the world–or as he details, “kings becoming runners, and runts becoming alphas”. The track sounds perfect for espionage or a late-night museum break-in.
You can find Cat Food in the iTunes Store here: