Edward Scissortongue has remained prominent within the English Hip-Hop scene, a success centric to the eclectic roster of High Focus Records; featuring a number of innovative producers and rappers in the midst of their prime. Reaching critical acclaim in 2012 for his debut release ‘Better.Luck.Next.Life’, the rapper has been featured on a number of recent High Focus releases, with the likes of Ocean Wisdom, Dead Players, and Jam Baxter. ‘Tell Them It’s Winter’ is the linguist’s first album, with a second EP ‘FEEDMEFREEDOM’ expected to drop by the end of the year.
Scissortongue’s unique style takes a vocal range similar to Mr Key, or Dr Syntax, taking the listener on a narrative journey with contemplating lyrics, complete with rich imagery and a beautiful flow, evident enough on the album’s single ‘Tell Them It’s Winter’. What has become lexicon to Edward’s developing sound is the distinctive beats concocted by Lamplighter, a long time collaborator with Edward. The sparse, minimalist themes grant Edward the space to rap in complex multisyllabic patterns, whilst maintaining an empty quality around his voice. ‘Week’ executes this relationship perfectly, growing around Edward’s vocal tones, whilst remaining hypnotic and entrancing.
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What becomes apparent by the albums halfway point is the depth that ‘TTIW’ possesses within its songs. Edward has an abundance of elaborate bars and progressions within his pieces, yet the form of the ambient beats remains fairly stagnant. No track is less than four minutes, with an average time of five and half minutes, and whilst this benefits Edward’s liquid rhyme schemes, the melancholic themes can become tired. Luckily, ‘Hyperballad’ and ‘AFK’ stand out as truly immersive tracks, taking advantage of an empowering bass-line blended with dreamy samples and acoustic ostinatos, with daring progressions to Lamplights’ beats that seamlessly morph into new entities.
‘Light Round Here’ is one of the highlights of the LP, signifying Edward’s unique story telling abilities in an epic eight-minute track, combining elaborate rhyming patterns, and subtle emphasis on his trademark monotone, with an entrancing synthesizer, swelling to a down-tempo structure. Whilst never taking an aggressive tone to his rhymes, Edward surpasses his peers, simply allowing his lyricism to connote an emotive response, and instead sways to greater emphasis on his flow to signify meaning and importance ‘Body language was all zig-zagged, out of shape, mismatched downed in weight, misspent hours spent sitting spangled in his mountain cave’.
Ending on ‘Many Made One’, the coherent ambient theme imparts with a final track of wisdom, rich with contemplations on the universe packed against personal endeavours, mixing philosophy and poverty into a final notion of bittersweet imagery and contour. It sums up an intense listen with meditation on aspects of life, love and matter itself. At times the haze that surrounds Edward’s music can be blinding, and the dreamlike ponderings can turn the experience into lucid uncertainty. But with a strong narrative, consistently astounding phrasings and a shared mentality between two artists at the peak of their game, ‘TTIW’ is a clear example of yet another remarkable Edward Scissortongue release, with a provocative nudge towards what the future could hold.
This Edward Scissortongue and Lamplighter article was written by John Gittins, a GIGsoup contributor