|MH-283 Bigg Jus - Machines That Make Civilization Fun
On Machines That Make Civilizations Fun, Bigg Jus assaults the growing ugliness and inequality of society with a fury and intelligence that are unparalleled in these bleak times of perpetual war and economic fatigue. It makes sense, perhaps, that those coming of age in the diminished hope of the years post-9/11 have gravitated towards the escapist choices of the new generation: beachy chillwave and materialistic rap. Bigg Jus has a longer memory, though. His first project, Company Flow, stood at the top of underground hip-hop during an era when it was actually about something, and he’s still haunted by the events that leveled his home town a decade ago. He doesn’t see the point in rapping about greed or girls, and Machines That Make Civilizations is for those who have been paying attention during the decline and who are hungry for music that aggressively addresses the problems that are right in front of our faces. As cities across America and the world begin to awaken, Bigg Jus offers a soundtrack that speaks truth to power with a profundity that is worthy of the moment.
|Juss plants bombs in leftfield and comes up with funk-rotting blooms snapping heads back. - Clash / Hip-hop still has a vital voice to act as the social conscience of the nation. - DJ Mag / Bigg Jus returns in true futuristic fashion speaking on today’s political issues with tomorrow’s sound. - NME / A paranoid glitch-dub masterpiece - Stevie Chick|
|Infinite Robot Theorem in the Making. Following on from 2005’s Poor People’s Day, Bigg Jus delivers his third solo LP. If the listener has any doubt as to what’s to come after the play button has been tapped then a good look at the sleeve work will elicit a clue or two. The cover painting depicts a scene from the American Revolutionary War as the two sides engage in battle. Look closer however and in the skies there are at least two flying saucers surveying the chaos. Certainly there are artworks from hundreds of years ago that portray similar craft but this image bears the name ‘Kingspitter’ at the bottom so just maybe a contemporary hand has been at work a la Banksy. This intriguing artwork will hearten any Bigg Jus/Company Flow fan of old and engage any newbie with its hints of conspiracy theories and the like.|
Lyrically, Jus is on familiar – one could say ‘safe’ – territory. Still, there has been much to get to grips with if your forte is tackling the political system and confronting injustice across the globe, so you can hardly blame Jus for sticking to his guns.
From the off with intro Crossing The Line, MTMCF hits us with a bewildering array of beats, bleeps, noise and samples. It has an immediately disorientating effect and, before you know it, Game Boy Predator is ripping you through to the next level. Sonically it never relents; helicopter pilots exchange communication ‘that’s definitely a weapon of sort’, drums pound, clatter and trigger, vocals sweep in and out, the rise of the machines is upon us. If you hadn’t prepped for battle, then too late – better find a foxhole.
There’s no let up as tracks such as Empire is a Bitch (Fake Arab Spring Mix) continue to bring forth swirling sounds and a cacophony of beats while Jus spews forth, sounding, in the case of Advanced Lightbody Activation, eerily robotic, vocals double-tracked to add to the effect.
Brief respite from Jus’s rapping comes in the form of the instrumental – emphasis on mental – Hard Times for New Lovers with its lockjaw beats and stuttering rhythms. Redemption Sound Dub comes off like the robots have been let loose in the studio to twiddle knobs and press buttons while Jus delivers all manner of unintelligible vocals. Could be a case of the machines making it not so fun.
With its slow, deep beats, Samson Op-Ed seems to feature a guest MC adding some warped whirrs alongside a rap from Jus that contains no inhalation. Finally, he makes way for a long news excerpt regarding Iran and Israel. Katy Perry did a similar thing on her last album.
Jus takes on all comers in terms of machine but album closer Respective of F1 Dub, with its samples of racing cars, appears just plain daft. Nevertheless, the instrumental could well serve as a reminder that, not so long ago, Formula 1 was close to going ahead with the race in Bahrain. Whilst many bow down to the altar of technology, we shouldn’t forget that man still has his hands on the steering wheel.
Despite the subject matter this album clocks in at around 37 minutes. In the hands of many others, who shall remain nameless, this would have been delivered to you, dear listener, as a double album with the word ‘epic’ underlined wherever possible, with filler galore, thumping the message home – ‘We’re all doomed, doomed I tell you! The apocalypse is upon us, run for your WAGS!’ Jus instead opts for short and sweet and it’s a refreshing delight and complete surprise when it ends. At first, we’re left feeling the need for more but after a few listens the unforgiving nature does begin to take its toll. The words are largely indecipherable and the lyrics are, as is Jus’s want, politically cryptic – much like your local MP. It’s a good game trying to work out what he’s going on about (fun for the whole family, right gran?). But listen to his voice and you know Jus means what he spits, maybe not so much like your local MP. - Kemptation