Villa Kang’s “Radio Dada” punches the listener with a blast of rich imagery, a quick staccatoed vocal delivery and creative lyricism. The track clocks in at 1:16 and feels like a psychedelic experiment of The Ramones highjacking Hip-Hop.
In many ways “Radio Dada” works as an antithesis to “Hallucinating Arkansas”. Its fast, its vocal is up front and its lyric seems to exist more as an artistic statement, than as an exploration of mood.
The song’s title refers to Dadaism, an early 20th Century art movement who’s sole purpose was to be anti-bourgeois, and anarchistic while ridiculing the meaninglessness of the modern world.
Employing this ethos in his treatment of psychedelic hip-hop, Villa Kang works actively against the genre’s standard 4:00+ song, and use of tired imagery. Moreover, Villa Kang’s lyrical sources are noticeably diverse and pulled from popular culture to create a swirl of lyrical impressionism.
Just as Dadaists created art that was visibly “anti-art”, Villa Kang uses a JDilla inspired psych hip-hop beat, to create a brand of fun, psychedelic, “anti-hip-hop”.
Villa Kang’s opening lyric “through a broken diamond” delivered on top a of a hazy, glitch-hop, blissed beat, effectively introduces the listener of “Hallucinating Arkansas” to an isolated speaker who sees only a world of apparitions and clouded memories.
The track boasts lush, reverbed vocals over dream-sequenced instrumentation that heavily samples Memoryhouse’s “To The Lighthouse”. The production uses the strongest melodic aspects of “To The Lighthouse” to create its primary instrumental hook and Villa Kang’s vocal melody works well over this sample.
The lyrics are strong if read, however the production points more toward their aesthetic and mood rather than content.
The Production’s chorus sounds almost like a duet between Memoryhouse’s Denise Nouvion and Villa Kang. The sped up sample of Denise’s voice, like the production on Villa Kang’s voice, makes the phrase less about the lyric and more about the evocation of something lost, which is really what “Hallucinating Arkansas” effectively conveys.
“Hallucinating Arkansas” lyric content deals with isolation, fragmented memory and a lack of identity. The speaker is trapped, trying to reach out, trying to connect but is inevitably lost in a cold place. A place that can only be described as a bizarro “Cheers (TV Show)” world where, as Villa Kang laments in his Chorus, “Out Here No One Knows Your Name.” Ultimately, however, the track’s conclusion employs David Bowie’s voice from a 1973 Interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZtHxP4EMV0), where he fittingly discusses identity, religion and his celebration of life. How existential.
Tennis follow up this year’s Cape Dory with a new full-length next year; the record is titled Young and Old and drops February 14 via Fat Possum. It will be preceded by a limited 7” Origins (available for streaming above) on Forest Family, backed with a b-side Deep In The Woods.