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The Dark Craftsmen - No Shadow On Your Sundial CD [Dropzone]
The Dark Craftsmen - No Shadow On Your Sundial CD [Dropzone]
Tracklist:

01. Intro
02. Lyrical Telepathy
03. Origins Of Sin
04. True Vandal - Rework
05. Morbid Philosophy
06. Shadows
07. T-2000
08. Whispers Of The Madman
09. Voices
10. Titanium Assassin
11. Poison Pen Letter
12. Outro
Coming straight out of the South, Southampton to be precise, The Dark Craftsmen formed in 1998 and are are MCs Tekneek and CBR (Cold Bludded Rhymer) along with producer Features and DJ Relic on the decks. Probably partly due to their location and the minimal amount of exposure the guys have achieved so far the crew has been severely slept on since their Creep Show EP dropped, ohhh, way back in, ummm, and 2000's UK Rap Records released True Vandal. Regardless they have been doing their thing and after doing a gig together in Hamburg they have hooked up with Scotland based Dropzone Records run by Eastborn for their new No Shadow On Ya Sundial long player, which is highly anticipated by me.

In terms of the number of tracks the LP at 12 tracks including the intro and outro is a touch compressed by modern standards, but ultimately I would choose quality over quantity any day. The group are influenced by the classic early nineties UK Hip Hop, and in their press list amongst their influences such big name acts like Gunshot, Son Of Noise, Blade, Killa Instinct and the Demon Boyz etc.

The big beat of Lyrical Telepathy is the ideal mid tempo head splitting backing with dark horns and remorseless drums which rock along for the MCs to deliver their carefully delivered verses. Immediately you can tell a great deal of effort has gone into making this sound crisp and clear, all syllables clearly enunciated and popped out right on beat. As the somewhat hard opener finishes off with cuts of LL saying, 'I'll battle anybody', Origins Of Sin follows with a spoken intro which features what could be interview footage from people who have been possessed before the sweet strings and choral singing drop and Tekneek and CBR deliver their mystically tinged brag raps.

Morbid Philosophy is particularly dark, but unfortunately loses a great deal of funk for this and does seem to drone on a bit. There is some good ideas here in terms of the samples selected, its just I don't feel the sequence does them justice. Shadows kicks off with a piano loop and an off kilter beginning for a more relaxing beat which is not as punchy on the drums as most of the DCM offerings. Regardless there is no quarter given when Tekneek opens up the verbal jousting.

DCM have also added their own flavour of deep, mystical, atmospheric and futuristic rhythms complimented by well delivered, on-point and well thought out lyrics. As mentioned there are twelve tracks of UK Hip Hop niceness which are bound to get any enthusiast excited. One of the main faster tracks which one has to keep an eye out for is the superb funk fuelled T-2000 which makes liberal use of James Brown samples for a track which harks back to old Britcore days both in terms of its tempo, but also the incessant nature of the production and the urgency of the delivery of the lyrics.

Whispers Of A Madman loops up some great strings for a track which seems well down tempo after the previous offering, but this is more about showing off the tongue twisting and vocabularic skills of the MCs. The last three tracks Voices, Titanium Assassin and Poison Pen Letter are all quality Hip Hop which pushes all my buttons and go along way to demonstrate the depth of the skill of these wordsmiths. Generally I can say that these guys are doing all the right things for me. Occasionally I think some of the lyrics aren't quite as memorable or deep as they could be, but across the whole LP this is impressive stuff.

Also included on the LP is a new reworking of True Vandal which was one of the original tracks I heard from these guys and which really turned me on to them. This track's horns and Tarzan type chant production now features on last label owner Eastborn who spits with a great deal of charisma, this is no one dimensional delivery on the Mic alongside, in the middle, special guest Junior Disprol of Dead Residents, but in a way I still rate the original version as well.

The album stands out in what has been a quiet summer for full releases and should be interesting enough to make you pick it up.
 

http://www.dropzonerecords.com
 

Intro Early Doors:
1979-1985
False Dawn:
1985-1990
Underground Years:
1990-1995
The Renaissance:
1995- 2000
The Future:
2000 & Beyond
Artists &
Discographies

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