We’ve been waiting for what feels like a lifetime for this project to get a release date and see the light of day but we’ve finally reached that day (well actually a few days ago so our apologies to High Focus Records who were kind enough to give us an early preview of the release). The Theremin EP, a concept project from Edward Scissortongue, has been in the works for a while and is the sophomore release from the High Focus Records artist following his last Better.Luck.Next.Life release. In fact as Edward puts it himself “The Theremin EP is the concept record I have been dreaming of writing ever since I began making music” so the ideas that have laid the foundation for the music have been developing for a long time.
At seven tracks deep the EP gives us enough of a taster of the psychi of Edward ‘the most photogenic rapper alive’ Scissortongue whilst not crossing into LP territory. The EP is a gloomy journey through the darkest parts of his mind yet with his words Edward still managed to paint very vivid and engaging images throughout. As the title of the project suggests all the music on The Theremin EP is based around the title track as he explained to us on Twitter:
“The title track inspired the entire project. For me, theremins sound like flying saucers. That’s it.”
With that sentence went our theory that all the sounds featured the theremin instrument. We have to give credit to both Scissortongue and also High Focus for branching out on this release because you can’t bring something new to the table without breaking boundaries as they have with Theremin.
1. Take Readings (Produced by Miles Courtney)
2. Teeth (Produced by Eon Ra)
3. The Wipeout Soundtrack Feat. Toyface (Produced by Lamplighter)
4. Theremin (Produced by Dirty Dike)
5. Theremin Pt. II Feat. J. Schaff (Produced by Sumgii)
6. The Calculator (Produced by Konchis)
7. Cradle (Produced by Lamplighter)
The introduction, Take Readings, is a rather powerful instrumental to the point that you don’t question where the absent rhymes are; no drums are used, just a synth-heavy melody that just captivates the listener. Things go up a gear on Teeth as the drum loops kick in with a punching snare and Edward gets on the microphone to articulate some rather mysterious yet engrossing thoughts. The Wipeout Soundtrack, produced by Lamplighter, showcases Scissortongue’s flow as his rhymes speed up and slows with the tempo of the track in the latter part of the song. Theremin gets a bit dark in its tone; partly down to the eerie melody accompanied by a low frequency bass line and partly down to the the imagery that comes across with Edward’s words. What comes across can only be described as a post-apocalyptic landscape as every living organism fights for survival, think of the future in the Terminator movies when the machines try to destroy mankind. Theremin Pt. II has an interesting instrumental that is rather different what you hear in the previous track. The high hats and the stuttering bass almost make it feel like a party track while remaining complex and elegant. The track ends with audio lifted from some sort of German radio communication; we don’t understand a word of German so you’ll have to decipher its meaning all by yourselves.
The Calculator, is very much unlike Quid Control (DJ Yoda and People Under The Stairs released in 2002) but we can’t help but be reminded of that production due to a similar use of the sound of pocket change being incorporated into the underlying beat. Konchis has done a superb job on the production front for The Calculator, the music has been arranged deliberately to sound hollow and cold (much like the lyrics) but hides layers of complexity in plain sight. Scissortongue (real name Thomas Hawkins) says “this song is about death” and much like every track on this EP, The Calculator is filled with imagery and even contains our favourite saying of all time “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer”. Who else (apart from Necro) would think to have their lead single be about death?
The EP closes with Cradle, a track that could almost be an introduction to a drum and bass song in another world but to say that is somewhat misleading but you’ll know what we mean when you listen to it; a very simple loop is laced over a very powerful bassline that leaves you yearning for some sort of drop that never comes. Like Take Readings, the outro does not feature Scissortongue’s voice at all but that largely does not matter because as you learn through the journey of listening to this project from beginning to end: it is audio manifestation of Edward Scissortongue’s darkest thoughts and the beats form part of that thinking. It requires no explanation as it does not seem out of place.
In conclusion, The Theremin EP is not the sort of album you can listen to casually through the budget earphones that came with your smartphone on your morning commute to work. It is one of those collections of songs that you have to listen to from beginning to end in tracklist order to fully appreciate the craftsmanship that has gone into writing, arranging and recording the project. Edward Scissortongue’s words on this have clearly been growing in his mind over a rather long period of time as every word on every song has its rightful place and serves a purpose. The are no fillers. After giving the EP a few listens, and it does take a few listens to fully appreciate its complexity, we are left in awe at the depth of this project and are left hoping the next full-length release from Mr Hawkins is not in the too distant future.
The Theremin EP is out now and you can purchase it directly from High Focus Records on digital, CD and on vinyl.
Be sure to follow @Ed_Scissor and @HighFocusUK on Twitter as well as like Edward Scissortongue and High Focus to keep up to date with all their shows and releases. On that note, make sure you get tickets for the High Focus fourth birthday party, it has some seriously big names on the line up as far as UK hip hop is concerned.