“The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon” is a journey more complex and original, yet more accessible than anything Noah Archangel & The Band of the Hawk may have released before it. The fact that it exists at all is testament to the project’s perseverance, raw talent, and prophetic direction with which Noah Archangel, King Aka Yeaux Majesty, Ash Ra Aka Houey Freeman Fka Ashtonomics, P.ey3, Grynd Seazon, and Juskwam steer the good ship Band of the Hawk aka BOHUP, to the richest musical waters; plucking out those worth bringing along on their musical voyage and creating records greater than the sum of their parts. In terms of perfection of a sound it’s hard to imagine that “Songs of Solomon” could do much more. Everything you could want in electronic-based urban music is here with equal amounts of hip-hop and cinematic orchestrations thrown in for good measure. This is an album that perfects a certain style of music.
“The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon” draws its strength from consistency and its fluid track list, notwithstanding its mammoth 22 song duration. The emotional power the record manages to achieve when in reality it is a sequence of luscious electronic beats, sprinkled with raps, is perhaps what is most impressive.
Time will tell if this is a definitive moment for the project, but at this point it seems the realm of electronic and urban music is open for Noah Archangel & The Band of the Hawk to be part of the next big visionaries of their genre.
The album is dense with fresh ideas which battle for elbowroom every few beats, impatiently vying for your attention, before launching each track on another unexpected tangent. It’s testament to how good the vast majority of the ideas are that the whole thing doesn’t buckle beneath the weight of its own creativity.
Armed with such an agenda, Noah Archangel & The Band of the Hawk attempt to pull “The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon” apart, treating string laden flashes, bass booming and beat-driven percussion as landmarks in their hyper-lucid vista of hard bop and cinematic-laden ambiance.
From the theatrical black hole of the opener “Old Gods and the New” to the percussive monothematic onslaught of “Wendy & Lisa”, through to the piano-driven musical epiphany of “Transpressions of Trismegistus”, or the soulfully sampled soliloquy “Those.hoes.over.there.”, Noah Archangel attempts to redesign the urban album; experimental but conventional, seemingly improvisational but well thought-out, and preoccupied with achieving its vanguard. Which it does.
“The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon”, therefore operates as one whole thematic piece, but with each track serving as a parcel really capable of existing outside of this medium if it has to. As the album moves through various sections and suites, it can create jarring transitions – brief passages of reflection that beg for more listening.
In particular tracks such as: “Kundalini (feat. Yeaux Majesty)”, “Nebuchenezzar (feat. Juskwam)”, “No Fools (feat. Stx)” and the single “Black Lotus (feat. Yeaux Majesty, Juskwam & DJ Thruvo)”, needs your attention, being lyrically driven.
With a plethora of feelings crammed into mere moments on each track, “The Maschine Wars: Songs of Solomon” makes for some serious listening, both in tone and execution. It’s a defining work – a mark of excellence!