Artist: Atman

CD: Silence is Golden


Genre: Rap, Hip Hop

Sounds Like: Too Short, E-40, Mac Dre, Twista, Pimp C, Lil Wayne, K Camp, Wiz Khalifa

Weakness: More live musical events, overly synthetic and one dimensional, more melodic vocal events, more flowing vocal melody lines.

Polish experimental ethno-folk collective ATMAN was formed in 1981 by multi-instrumentalists Marek Styczynski, Marek Leszczynski and Piotr Koelcki, who remained the core of the group throughout its lengthy existence; other regular collaborators included vocalist Anna Nacher and Tomek Gulinski, as well as bassist Thomasz Radziuk. Forging an aesthetic they dubbed “forest music” — a sound created with acoustic instruments and Tibetan instruments — the members of ATMAN divided their time between performing and offering workshops in instrument building and forestry, finally releasing the cassette …jak rozrzucone po ziemi kamienie… on their own FLY (Freak Living Yourself) label in 1991. Cassettes including Soundreams and Gadajaca Laka followed before ATMAN made its American debut with the Drunken Fish EP Save the Earth; other efforts for the label include 1997’s Personal Forest and 1999’s Tradition.

The CD takes flight with “Silence” an apocalyptic intro piece that’s serves up driving low end groove, against well placed movements and infectious rap flow. Track 2 “Ceilings” shifts gears a bit with methodical rap delivery. This follow up piece makes this song work well striking the perfect balance between intensity and passion. Track 3 “Tell Me” has a nice melodic vibe to it, with yet another amazing chorus, complete with well-placed vocal effects, methodical intro build, and harmonies that sit well within the pocket. The CD makes a good first impression, and lets you know right from the start what the motivation is: to raise the bar within the context of the genera, expressing some disappointment with life in general, the status quo of both the music industry and life itself. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic rap and Hip Hop. ATMAN delivers rap flow reminiscent of Too Short, E-40, Mac Dre, Twista’, Pimp C, Lil Wayne, K Camp and Wiz Khalifa. This mixing is compelling and full of musical variety with exotic keyboard and synthesizer accents, with honey coated female vocal layering along the way. The beats are rock solid providing solid low end groove support, and effective high end touches. The CD has many musical flavors. You will find everything from clever rhymes, addictive melodies, lyrics that are thought provoking and rap flows that are clever and masterful. The thing I like the most about the rap performances themselves is they never once try too hard, or come across as being over the top. ATMAN also lives up to his name delivering rap at high speeds. From flowing rap jams “Thank God” to passionate slow burning grooves “Killer” this CD presents a packed to the hilt with a lot of musical diversity. There’s a fair dose of dark and apocalyptic rap grooves on this release like Nightmares.” Some rap flows packed with rap intensity like “Ghost” and “Wake Up.” The CD ends with Track 10 “Golden” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.

As rock solid as this CD is – I wish there were more live musical events and elements to go with the sampling. Things like Guitar, Horns, live drum kit, more well-crafted vocal harmonies, etc. I wish ATMAN let it all hang out vocally on some songs aside from his consistent rap delivery. Let’s hear what those pipes can do thus showcasing things like vibrato, falsetto, power, finesse and control. Some songs are in dire need of more flowing melody. Because of the aforementioned issues, at the end of the day this CD does not swim in the deep end of the pool with top level CD’s within the genera.

Song for song, pound for pound “Silence in Golden” is an impressive musical production any way you slice it from ATMAN. Like a heavy weight fighter this CD goes the full 10 rounds, and never once lets its guard down. It has everything from raw intensify, clever lyrics, to songs that are well crafted that will hold your attention span perfectly. As a whole this CD possesses allot of variety, and versatility. It delivers the typical in your face urban swagger you would expect from a rap CD, and cannot be faked no matter how hard you try. The strong suit is its wide range of musical versatility. ATMAN is first rate, and this is not his first CD either. ATMAN clearly delivers everything you would expect from a top notch independent release with each song possessing its own distinct personality, individuality and wide amount of musical diversity. It’s a TKO!

Cyrus Rhodes

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