There are albums that make you think, there are albums that make you cry, there are albums that make you wonder why the fuck are you listening to this, there are albums that remind you of someone or something. There are albums that are great for listening to while painting a kitchen table. There are albums that fuckin’ awesome or just plain genius. And there are albums that are fun. I’m not extremely familiar with Chinese Man‘s work, but judging by Racing With The Sun he sure knows how to make fun records. I mean, as effortless as every track on the album sounds, I cannot even start realizing how much work it is has to take to throw together such a wild variety of elements with such colorful, entertaining yet coherent results. The record is like that infamous Forrest Gump’s “box of chocolates” – you don’t know what you’re gonna get next, but whatever you do get is delicious. And neatly wrapped up in immaculate hip-hop beat. Chinese Man maintains this fun and unique Far-East-meets-Wild-West atmosphere throughout the entire album, combining traditional(-sounding, – I have no idea where those come from) Chinese melodies with tunes that would fit any spaghetti western. Add some Jamaican riddim and hardcore rap to the mix, plus tons of samples from all over the history of music and movies – and you would get a slight idea what Racing With The Sun is about. In fact, you can find all of these elements in just one track – “Miss Chang” (feat. Taiwan MC & Cyph4). But you really have to listen to the whole thing – every track has some kind of surprise – drums galore on “If You Please”, dubstep bass on “Stand!” (feat. Plex Rock), Cypress Hill-like rap on top of Arabic flutes and strings somehow flowing into aggressive dub on “J.O.G.J.A.” (feat. M2MX, Dubyouth, Kill The DJ) and bells and chanting on the trip-hoppy, mysterious “The King” – a very nice conclusion to the fascinating story that Racing With The Sun is telling. Sometimes the album gets a bit over the top – I could not get over the deliberate silliness of the main sample on “Get Up” (feat. ex-i, Lush One, Plex Rock), contributing to the cartoonish appeal of the record but kind of distracting from the great skills of the musicians involved. But there are such undeniable masterpieces as a very “noir” re-working of Nancy Sinatra‘s “In My Room” or the immersive title track, which probably reflects the album’s atmosphere the best – Racing With The Sun is like a fun 2-D adventure game with unexpected twists and turns, hidden treasures, very hot female characters, the hero that is easy to identify yourself with, over-the-top villains with their goofy henchmen, and ability to travel around the world in matter of seconds. Yes, your character will bump into walls every now and then, but controls are in your hands and the overall experience will fill you with puppy-like happiness. And you will want to play this game a few more times, to discover all the hidden levels.
R.I.Y.L. Backini, Wax Tailor, 2-D adventure games
personal favs: “In My Room”, “Racing With The Sun”, “Miss Chang” (feat. Taiwan MC & Cyph4)
Chinese Man – “Miss Chang” (feat. Taiwan MC & Cyph4)