Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

music Home > Record Reviews

Sound Tracks

Rob Sonic: Telicatessen

Rob Sonic: Telicatessen

Label:Definitive Jux
Release Date:2004
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Craig Smith | Posted 10/6/2004

As the brainchild of avant-garde band Sonic Sum (once dubbed hip-hop’s Radiohead), Rob Sonic is an abstract experimenter, and his forward-thinking solo debut drops on alt-rap knapsack fave Definitive Jux. Telicatessen is an esoteric rhyme fest and if the record actually were the local hangout its moniker suggests, it would be populated with regulars like obtuse label mates Aesop Rock or El-P.

As with most Def Jux discs, Sonic’s record isn’t for hip-hoppers favoring battle rhymes and head-nodding, sample-heavy thumpers. Try and two-step to plodding electro joints like the laser-blast-peppered title track and you’ll likely be tagged a dance-floor moron.

Sonic makes his points in a measured fashion with self-produced, synth-filled tracks rolling at sluggish speeds. With a borderline nasal delivery, he doesn’t generate a whole lot of heat, but Sonic’s enunciation makes each word understandable. Not that lines like “Worked in the favor till the Vapo Rub Vicks me” in “Location Is Everything” means listening to these heady verbals won’t lead to multiple head scratchings.

Sonic’s sounds are manufactured by a variety of vintage and current gear, including a Minimoog, Fender Rhodes, and a pair of Technics 1200 turntables. The results often trudge along, but when Sonic accelerates on jams like “Dylsexia,” verbal gems like “Don’t interrupt, interact/ Or play with matches, memories some of us never catch” smack with a pungent punch. And while “Super Ball” also bounces, simply not enough of the other tunes do.

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter