07 March, 2008

The Student Body Graduates with Honors

I found The Student Body on one of my site hopping afternoons with the unknowing assistance of WireTap magazine. There was an article on Black New World, an art space in Oakland that specializes in the art of the African American community. From Myspace to Myspace I bounced, until I came across a sound that I found tantalizingly different and I discovered The Student Body.

Their first album, The Student Body Presents Arts & Sciences, is an exploratory amalgamation of hip-hop and electronic music with a deep punk-rock spirit. Many of the songs straddle the line between beat-poetry and more classic hip-hop delivery, and the raw energy of the electronic instrumentation is similar to that of early Le Tigre. This music is politically charged and dynamic in nature. "Eunice" bounces along sinisterly while Miasha Williams' voice echoes at angles that sound physically impossible to achieve without super-speed. "Boxes" follows "Eunice" with hurricane-like intensity and coolly delivered statements that clash wildly. "Drift Wit' It" rolls like the tide and Miasha whispers, but "Mantra" skips along like a scratched record with Miasha's ethereal vocals floating above, free from any jolting stops and starts.

Every song on this thirteen track album sounds different, and not only different in rhythm and composition, but also in texture. Textural diversity crops up from song to song and even from line to line. On The Student Body Presents Arts & Sciences, sound is explored and utilized fully and expression is never bound by the parameters of genre or the reach of a particular instrument. The music man, Eric Porter, does his job well, layering and applying sounds to lyrics in ways that are incredibly innovative and thoughtful. Vocally, Miasha succeeds in jumping from whispering chanteuse to soul diva in the span of a few minutes. I doubt that I will grow bored with this album, instead I will be waiting with baited breath for the next release by this extremely talented Oakland band.

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