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DEEPCRATES, JADE PALACE GUARD: The Crate Rebellion (2014)

The Crate Rebellion Deepcrates Jade Palace GuardIf you dig the trashy lo-fi production ethic of Doom and Lord Beatjitzu, kung-fu samples, the ridiculous epic sci-fi narratives of Deltron 3030 and the arty DIY fanboy merchandise and extras typical of the Hot Peas And Butta crew, rapper Deepcrates and production outfit Jade Palace Guard have got a treat for you. Enter The Crate Rebellion, a forty-five minute, fourteen track concept album about Earth’s twin planet in the constellation Leo X run by necromantic government the Jade Palace whose rule is enforced by the One Armed Boxers and opposed only by a small force of freedom fighters led by the gold and black-masked Deepcrates.

Now you might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah – I remember a time when hip-hop was all social commentary and keeping it real,” but let’s not overlook the fact that (like the Deltron stuff) this lyrically examines an oppressive regime which uses bully-boy tactics and modern technology to monitor and oppress the people. Sounds like straight up criticism of modern society to me, given things like the recent scandal of the NSA and GCHQ’s use of the Prism program. It’s not just an allegorical attack on sinister governance either since this LP is also a love letter to the physicality of music-buying in the analog era – like it says on One-Armed Boxers, “Universal mysteries solved/ The human race begins to d-e-volve/ digital immigrants kill all the analog”. Surely that’s just techno-fear? Nope – there’s a digital download accompanying every different one of the physical packages which include various combinations of cd, cassette (!), sticker pack and limited edition hand-made action figures. This is a rearguard action of DIY creativity in the face of digital facelessness – even if such a project has arguably only been made possible by – er – the demise of traditional record company middle men and the simultaneous rise of websites like Bandcamp and the demise of traditional print media and the rise of music blogs like – er – monkeyboxing. Gahhh – it’s a paradox! Don’t forget to order your limited physical releases via the internet. Subvert from within!
(Out now, limited numbers of packages available. Shipping 18 July)

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