'Burn The Money'-Song Review
A teachable moment, for a dark time; that is not made to be forgotten.
The Night Wolf is stalking, and hungry for prey...
Probably wouldn't make much of a difference trying to run, either. I was recently impressed hugely by Ryan Wilcox's (Night Wolf) debut E.P., 'What's The Time Mr. Wolf?'. I hadn't them before reviewing, and was wondering what to expect from the outfit. Any act that purports to blend sounds effectively, whether it be rock, rap, dub-step or hip hop, a lot of times fall short of the mark. I needn't have worried mind, as the tracks on show were varied, constantly surprising, incredible and non-colloquial; thus achieving two key outcomes: it introduced me to, and opened my mind to a different type of music, and consequently compelled me to delve into the archives of the music the songs fused. Secondly it roused me to be more daring and adventurous in my own music; not to be content with one particular style, but to experiment and see if alchemy can be achieved.
When the latest song arrived into my in-box, I was thinking that it would be a continuation of the E.P.'s style and mission statement. Possibly a slab of dub-step/classical/hip hop cocktail that would have you seeing double, dancing manically and drooling over a toilet bowl, before the bell for last orders had been rung. It takes literally less than one second, to realise that a different sort of wolf was lurking beneath's the moon's candid glow. An angrier, more politicised is baying for flesh; one with intention.
Night Wolf was inspired to write 'Burn The Money' after watching a series of videos. It was then that the idea to write a hip hop number, all be it a grittier, more diverse song. The first thing that happens in this song is the introduction of a vocal. It is not sung, however; it is spoken word. As the title may suggest, the manusia of the song is a financial figure; it is a relate-able tableaux for a modern age. The music underscoring the voice, begins life bearing dark, languid strings. It is an instant mood setter that does not dominate or even try to equal what is being said; instead lurks in the shadows. The recording itself seems to be from an American newscast or news programme; I am not sure. Instantly there is a sense of mystery about who this man is, that is prophesying imminent economic doom. He talks about interest rates on national debt will mean that, theoretically, by 2013 it could mean "total bankruptcy for the U.S. economy". Instantly there is a immanency to proceedings. The message does not go on to bring us tidings of joy, but stays on message, explaining what the wider implications will be. At the 0:30 junction, the recording is stopped and the piano line is not in the spotlight. It is initially dark and funereal; reminiscent of Stravinsky and Raschmaninoff, with a hint of an audible shoulder drop. There is a build-up as lighter notes mix with dark; a feint drum cymbal is heard, before strings come back to play. They are playful and delicate, counteracted by a solid and militaristic drum beat. In a way the mesh and interplay of sounds and moods reflects the theme of the song and act as a musical countenance. The tone now has more of a hip hop theme; a bit of Massive Attack, Tricky, maybe later Portishead too with a delicate nod to Cypress Hill, The Progidy and Jay-Z. Just before the news recording recomposes itself, your mind is somewhere else. In mine at least, driving down a dark road heading for London, neon, multicoloured light beckoning my hence. Before I can be too entrenched in my own fantasy, we are back. It is only for a nanosecond, and the hip hop roll is in the fray; the synthesised night crawler is back; doing battle with a voice that says "the only way to make more money/Is to create more debt and inflation". The combination of the two mileaux's creates a psychotropic effect. The words affect the mind, soul and brain; the music raises the body, inflames the ears and brightens the eyes. It is a curious sexual call, from a curious allure. The sea has calmed slightly, and the infectious beat pitches tent in your limbic system. Just when you think that we are preparing to fade, Mr. Ominous, like Carrie in a 3-piece suit, rises bloodied from the water, to deliver another apocalyptic bromide. The coda of 'Burn The Money' is that in spite of all the downturn, and fiscal tsunami, we need to "use it to our advantage". Bloody Americans!
The track as a whole has a sort of retro feel to it, that harks bark to the genesis of hip hop and big beat. Unlike many of the pre-pubescent shirt tuggers that are trying to acclimate base camp in your brain through a series of left turns, explosions and sample-laden perturbation, Night Wolf have pulled off a neat illusion. The track is quite uncategorisable. Sure there is hip hop, big beat, romantic classical with a light crust of old school rap. There is much to recommend for any lover of any genre of music. The spoken word segments are deployed effectively, punctuating the mood, and coming to the fore at the most effective times. The announcer is suitably anodyne and Mid-Western; in essence quite flat. This, coupled with the extraordinary soundtrack that levies the momentum, interject perfectly and the resultant song is spellbinding its efficiency and effectiveness. It is a tight number as well, and does not overplay its hand or descend into parody or morbid hyperbole. Instead, it is a tight manifesto that will long by remembered once the song has ended.
Night Wolf are a multi-directional Mevlevi Order. Ryan has a Queens of the Stone Age rebellion to his musical ambitions. Their front-man Josh Homme has never concerned himself with what is on trend, or what is considered 'mainstream'. The band have stayed true to what they know and what works: keep it heavy, interesting, varied, and unpredictable. It is no coincidence that they are, in my opinion, the most dominating musical force in the world today. They do not derisk their sound to 'fit in'. Night Wolf have a similar trading forecast in their business plan. I have heard a range of songs for them, and could not put them into one family tree. There seems to be little direct lineage at play and it is because of this that the songs are so fascinating.
I would advise you check out this track. Once you do, check out the E.P. When you have done that listen to everything else and disagree with me. I'm not sure you will, as it is clear that...
Night Wolf are here to stay for a long while.
Check out Night Wolf's E.P. via: http://soundcloud.com/flyproductionzltd/sets/watts-the-time-mr-wolf?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=facebook&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fflyproductionzltd%2Fsets%2Fwatts-the-time-mr-wolf