High Focus kick off 2015 with Onoe Caponoe’s first release on the UK powerhouse label, an album produced entirely by Chemo entitled ‘Voices From Planet Cattele’. Onoe’s style is immediately interesting; he’s one of the most distinctive voices in the scene, with his unique brand of psychedelic tales and consistent flows.
From the filtered voices that welcome you to the world in which the planet Cattele resides, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be your standard rap album. Caponoe absolutely kills the opening track; ‘Space Bitches’ features punchy boom bap production, with haunting keys topped off with weird, electronic high frequencies. It’s production choices and lyrical concepts like the ones displayed on the track that give this album such a distinctive character.
Chemo’s production talents are showcased incredibly on ‘Voices From Planet Cattele’. The partnership is one that works in sublime fashion, with many of the albums tracks having room for Chemo to add his own trippy electronica in instrumental sections. Songs like ‘Moon – Galactico’, which features short bursts of Onoe spitting and consists mainly of Chemo’s fantastically layered atmospheric synths and frantic, hard hitting drums, are prime examples of this.
‘Disappearing Jakob’ is another highlight, with Onoe Caponoe’s consistently tight flow laced over a slow paced, hazy beat. ‘Space Jungles Of Cattele’ features left-field instrumentation and vocal processing, with the pitch shifting and filters adding to the psychedelic feel and inventive nature of the soundscape found across the album. Another highlight is the only track with a guest verse, provided by the legend that is Jehst. Billy Brimstone delivers a characteristically intricate, fierce verse on ‘Goth Bitches’, displaying exactly why he’s viewed as one of the top lyricists to ever come from these shores. Onoe Caponoe impresses as well on the track; their chemistry is definitely effective.
‘Voices From Planet Cattele’ is one of those albums you can listen to front to back and feel it’s really taken you on a journey. This is something more abstract than your typical UK hip hop release, and it’s a departure from much of the more traditional, boom bap influenced High Focus material, but slots in nicely amongst the Jam Baxter’s and Edward Scissortongue’s as a prime example of the excellent and experimental hip hop that is being produced in this country.
By Sam Bennett