Ah, such a good album you guys. Yet I almost gave up on it. I kept playing it and just couldn’t see the story behind it. And without a story it’s always just a bunch of songs thrown together, no matter how good they are. I was this close to start squeezing cliches out of my ass like “marrying the old and the new” or “revitalizing folk”, but then I decided to turn up the volume and really focus on listening to the record (I don’t know if that was I good idea when driving 70mph on a highway, but it worked). And I’ll tell you right now – don’t even bother with this album if you cannot listen to it properly. Get your best headphones, treat yourself to some decent speakers and I guess if you do have a chance to buy it on vinyl – definitely do so. Because the picture that suddenly emerged in my brain was so crazy and vivid that I don’t even care if it’s close at all to what 2econd Class Citizen had in mind (I’m sure it isn’t). I saw the world in the future where machines (androids? aliens? something not entirely human) are trying to rebuild the culture that we had from pieces that are left after everything is gone to shit. And after diggin’ through artifacts they’ve chosen the music of the 60’s, when there was still hope that we could “Change (What We’re Creating)” – one of my favorite tracks, fantastic use of the sample from Melanie‘s “Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore” wrapped into intensifying beat and magical cavalcade of strings. I guess I’ve gotten the wrong impression from the EP, but I’m far from being disappointed. It’s not “revitalizing”, “reviving” or whatever, it’s rebuilding, trying to grow something new on the shattered remains of the old, and sometimes it works, sometimes it falls apart and sometimes it’s just beautiful and unique. The samples that 2econd Class Citizen uses are as good as their application – from shamelessly direct sitting like a crown jewel, as in “Memory Page” (is it from a Perth County Conspiracy song?) to delicately dissolved into original instrumentations (and I’m not gonna embarrass myself with guessing anymore, maybe if I ever do an interview with him, he’ll tell me off the record :)) as in mesmerizing “No Destination” – one of the darkest (уеt not in a bit depressing) pieces of music I’ve heard in a while. The final third of the album features some bold experimentation, while pertaining retaining all the intensity and beauty – from a post-apocalyptic hymn “Metamorphosis” to angrily optimistic “Stay With Me” to the depiction of the new civilization taking its first uncertain steps “Beyond The Sun”. Surrounding a flickering warm light of folk music by masses of cold steel of drum-machines – it’s a great and ballsy concept that would fail dramatically if not executed properly. Luckily, 2econd Class Citizen has as much skill as he has ambition and The Small Minority is a remarkably well put-together album, deserving a place in many of the Year’s Best lists or, at the very least, in your record collection.

R.I.Y.L. DJ Shadow, Doctor FLAKE, ice sculptures
personal favs: “Change (What We’re Creating)”, “No Destination”, “Memory Page”

★★★★½ tipkin’s rating

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