Endlessly full of pop and counter-culture references, shot through with bone dry humour, powered by lo-fi, psychedelic boom-bap beats and with bars that often end with that characteristic rise in VOLUME? Yeah, you know it’s Kid Acne, back with solo LP number six – Hauntology Codes – ten tracks of goodness, guests King Kashmere, Cappo and Sonnyjim and continuing his highly successful partnership with Chicago producer Spectacular Diagnostics on the beats.
Opener Quantam Flipz sets the style and tone of things to come: “…diorama, “Assassin Creed: Valhalla”/ We’re back to the grill like they’re cooking lamb shawarma/ Eddie Fresh gonna continue the saga/ but ain’t doing shit if I don’t really wanna/ Passive income while I’m sat doing nada/ except for this rap shit and that I do proper/ The sureshot bruv you get what you got/ Ain’t a day go by I don’t think about pops/ For all the hard times, man is still a huge loss/ so we back, yeah you get props from the rooftops!” The swift movement from mention of a ubiquitous videogame (via a simile constructed from a reference to Indian takeaway) to describing the life of a self-employed rapper and personal memories of the deceased is typical. But those with longer memories of 80s and 90s hip-hop have got to love the way the above is done using throwaway allusions to 3rd Bass’s MC Serch (Back To The Grill), Beastie Boys (Sureshot) and The Beatnuts (Yeah, You Get Props). Previous singles Batman On Horseback and Dues Paid follow, juxtaposing humorous snapshots of contemporary urban life (“Ain’t a bad man, you’re a sadsack/ With secondhand bash-mags stuffed in your bumbag”) with mentions of graphic novels and sixties counter-culture touchstones before it’s time for Eranu/Ivavu which further pampers to aging b-boys by, yes, sampling Vic Reeves from Shooting Stars as the past seeps into the present again.
The beats arguably get better as the LP progresses (and they weren’t to be sniffed at at the start) with the King Kashmere-featuring Discordian Duplexxx heading in an even more far-out direction. Monkey favourites in particular are the dark and loose psychedelic groove of Healthy Normalz featuring Cappo and closer East Coast Stomp (featuring a guest turn by the deadpan Sonnyjim) which delivers a beat that, with its Adult Swim-style dialogue samples would be at home on an early 2000s DOOM LP.
All things considered, a December release for this LP is perfect. It’s a time of year when people look back and reflect and here’s our kid with an album in which the past is very much present in his – er – present. Why, it’s practically a realisation of hauntology as a concept! You need to get your head round that shit and Kid Acne’s got the codes.
(Out now on Lex Records)