2015 saw the release of ‘Voices From Planet Cattele’, Onoe Caponoe’s debut project through High Focus Records, which was produced entirely by the legendary Chemo. A year on comes his next release, ‘Spells From The Cyclops’ which finds Onoe experimenting with a variety of influences, genres and sounds, and it’s a trip that should be taken by all.
From the word go with the two short skits that introduce ‘Spells From The Cyclops’ it’s clear the Onoe’s weirded out, trippy vibe is still as strong as it ever was. The slow-paced ‘Cyclops From The Forest’ is a spaced out journey that encapsulates the vibe of the project perfectly, and it certainly prepares you for the next hour or so of leftfield hip-hop at it’s finest. The following track ‘Side Effects Of Star Controlling’ is equally cool, with it’s jazzy keys and drum loops backing Caponoe’s unique, individual lyrical approach, as he drops a smooth, unorthodox flow with winning results. ‘Ghost Surf’ is another excellent cut, and the bassy, hard-hitting trap influenced tracks are just as successful as the more experimental tunes found across this latest release. Onoe moves across the normal lines of beat and bar divisions with ease, constantly demonstrating a calculated but unashamedly abstract perspective on the microphone. Bisk and Stinkin Slumrok appear on the gritty, grimey ‘Money To Live In The Swamp’, and the glitchy, harsh production makes for a forward-thinking banger with three very talented UK vocalists doing their thing.
‘Jellyfish Gurl Part 2’ is a definite highlight, with manipulated vocals, mellow synths and crashing drums combining for an odd but entirely enjoyable four minutes. The smoked out ‘Love From A Ghost’ is intoxicating, with it’s haunting, slow-moving production and calmly delivered lyricism from Caponoe; it’s a welcome break from some of the more experimental tracks on ‘Spells From The Cyclops’, Onoe is still far from your cliché hip-hop artist on this song, but if the more extremely unconventional material isn’t entirely your thing this one is sure to be a favourite. The lo-fi ‘Ghosts In Ma Hallway Part 2’ is also another cool trap influenced joint, but it’s the following cut ‘On The Run In Tokyo’ that steals the show, and is perhaps the most polished cut in this style on the whole album.
With a host of other projects in the pipeline, Onoe Caponoe is continuing to carve his own niche in the hip-hop scene, which is so often stagnant and unimaginative. ‘Spells From The Cyclops’ is very strange, there’s really no getting around that, but Onoe grabs you and pulls you into his own dimension, not letting go until the final seconds of ‘Blaze My Zoot’. Go and cop this, get immersed in the world of the 169, and keep your eyes glued to http://www.high-focus.com for all the latest.
By Sam Bennett