Yes, this blog has been pretty much abandoned, but there’s always a day when an album comes out that is so excellent I can’t but tell you about it straight away, in more than 140 characters or a quick Facebook post. Today’s project is courtesy of French favourites Pumpkin and Vin’S da Cuero. Before I tell you about them and the brand-new “CHIMIQ” EP, I have to admit that I have been listening to it on repeat since I received the email from Bandcamp in my inbox an hour or so ago and I’m so obsessed about it already and so eager to share it with you that I took a break from work, after barely getting started. Oh, well.
Also, Pumpkin is one of the few artists whose projects I ALWAYS support and buy (or even preorder in this case). My slowly growing vinyl collection therefore includes most of her previous solo albums, as well as “LE BEAU TEMPS” EP and “PEINTURE FRAÎCHE” LP, her previous two projects as a duo with her partner in crime and official producer Vin’S da Cuero, and I look forward to getting my hands on this one.
Now, about the album itself… WOW! is pretty much how I would sum up my reaction after listening to it for the first time. I had already listened to the title track, which was released recently and complemented by an excellent, original and cheeky video that I highly recommend you watch (link below), and it made me very impatient to discover the whole project. What I can always count on with Pumpkin is a crazy flow and crazier lyrics, which often make me smile and/or utter this succinct but pretty accurate “WOW!”. I use crazy in a good way, of course, and I usually feel pretty bad for people listening to her music who are not francophones, because even if music is a universal language and all that, let’s be honest, they’re missing out. The level of lyricism, technicality, wit and smartness is simply impressive. I was already pretty blown away with “CHIMIQ”, but “SCIENCE FRICTION” (pretty clever pun) is on a whole other level in terms of power and emotion. I’ll get back to the subject matter in a second, but simply in terms of lyrical prowess, Pumpkin definitely stands out. To say she has a way with words would be an understatement and it’s always a pleasure for me to listen to her tracks. Hip-hop is not dead, y’all!
Besides the MC’s skills, another quality of the “CHIMIQ” EP is of course the music, with a return to “boom-bap” hip-hop, after experimenting with electronic sonorities on previous projects. Percussive drums, scratches, and beatbox; you can find all the ingredients for an excellent soundscape that welcomes Pumpkin and the guests’ voices and flows perfectly. Yes, it does make me think of the “Golden Era” of hip-hop but of course it’s very current and another proof that you can pay homage to the past while representing the present. This is also a reminder that Vin’S da Cuero is pretty comfortable with various genres and that’s something you can’t but appreciate from a producer. Also, the aforementioned guests are a most welcome addition to the project, from frequent collaborator Sarah Gessler (Beatspoke) to Vicelow and Sly The Mic Buddah aka Sly Johnson aka TAGi, as well as Neue Grafik and Scratch Bandits Crew on remix duties, and frequent collaborator DJ Lyrik (aka A Cat Called Fritz) on scratches.
Last, but definitely not least, the concept and subject matter of the short project is highly relatable and explored in a wonderful way, from “friends with benefits” aka fuck buddies aka “plan cul” for the French speakers, to how to cope with life’s highs and lows, and domestic violence. “CHIMIQ” is an exploration of how chemistry rules our lives whether it is with sex, relationships or depression. As I was mentioning earlier, “SCIENCE FRICTION” really blew me away, dealing with domestic violence in a very clever and powerful manner. Art is a way to spread messages and I commend Pumpkin for dealing with such an important topic that is too often ignored or downplayed. Once again, that’s quite an incentive to get your French lessons on…
Now that you know more about “CHIMIQ”, you can head to Mentalow Music’s Bandcamp page, or simply click on the link below. Listen, enjoy, and support!
And in case you need some visual incentive, enjoy the official video for the EP’s title track and get up close and personal with Pumpkin & Vin’S da Cuero.