By Richard Lam
Initially established in 1997, disbanding in 2003, Antipop Consortium returns with their first album in over five years, Fluorescent Black. True to their name, Antipop were on the fringes of commercial rap, experimenting within the genre with rhythmical diversions and spacey lyrics. After the critical acclaim and commercial success of their heyday, this reunion effort carries with it the weight of a grand statement. However, the group is simply doing what they do best – making rap comfortably, creatively and confidently.
Fluorescent Black employs innovative percussion and memorable production efforts with sci-fi flourishes throughout. “NY to Tokyo” is a retro-techno travelogue with Kraftwerk-inspired synths recalling Kraftwerk’s own Trans-Europe Express.
The album has a mechanized theme, employing robotic voices, references to programming languages and videogame bleeps, with track “Capricorn One” using vintage Atari-era laser sound effects as its beat.
With songs rarely crossing the 3:30 mark, the album is brisk and varied. As such, the tracks remain focused and accessible, without much room to diverge in strange directions. At nearly an hour long, however, the album drags at the midway point, only to be re-energized towards the end, much like the robots and rechargeable batteries that their lyrics evoke.