alias is the humble and once unsung, seminal iron man of anticon – an avenger of the producer/rapper type, whose music sounds his own at the turn of every instant. Former Live Poet and sole’s oldest partner in rhyme, alias left Portland, Maine, to shed skin for his California wingspan. Composing music for his deepest shades, he drops his anchor as an irrefutable jack of all trades.
Part Brian Eno and part Kraftwerk, muted is akin to Boards of Canada or early Aphex Twin while maintaining some of the boom bap roots of hiphop. alias uses muted to explore (and at times parody) the “boundaries” between what is considered hiphop and what is considered electronica. Tracks exaggerate and underline these distinctions, but the approaches are so closely fused, it’s not clear where one begins and the other ends.
Sonically, muted is a departure from early, sample-heavy, loop-based alias productions, instead relying more on his multi-instrumental talents on guitar and keyboard. The album’s soundscapes are driven by chopped drums and laden with washy keyboards, eerie guitar chords, gritty fuzz and droney synths. muted demonstrates alias’s compositional talent and his flexibility. He sounds equally at home providing the melancholy backing for Markus Acher’s (The Notwist) plaintive, crooning on “unseen sights,” as he does supporting the staccato raps of the pedestrian (anticon) on “the physical voice.” The result is a moody, intimate and, at times, dark record that is both rainy-day contemplative and rhythmically menacing, all the while maintaining its cohesiveness.