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Concert Tue Mar 29 2011
This Saturday, Chicago hip hop collective Abstract Giants will celebrate the release of its third album at Martyrs. Abstract Giants' latest effort, a self-titled release, is an extension of the group's live, organic hip hop genre that they have spent the past decade honing.
"We will not be copies," Abstract Giants' emcees declare on the aptly titled "Copies" off the new record. It's a proclamation that needs no verbal expression. This album speaks for itself. Abstract Giants are clearly not afraid to take risks and step outside the boundaries their predecessors have set.
This group's brand of Midwestern hip hop is uniquely organic in that each layer of each song is created within the confines of the eight-piece. Percussionist Andy Lempera, bassist Jake Samson, guitarist Cary Kanno, violinist Jason VinLuan and keyboardist Matt Conway create the intricate, stylistically diverse hooks that challenge emcees Cameron McIntosh, Andres Roldan and Mark Mathis to rhyme over. The results are tracks like "Things I've Seen." The acoustic guitar and violin that create the hook for this haunting track may not scream "urban hip hop" the way drum machines and synthesizers traditionally have, but Abstract Giants playing with different rules.
What's even more pleasing about Abstract Giants is that the talent showcased on this album is matched by its production. Abstract Giants is glossy enough to highlight the mature instrumentation and walls of vocals that illuminate almost every track, but still gritty enough to maintain the group's inner-city nature.
Abstract Giants are becoming to Chicago what similar hip hop collectives such as Doomtree are to their Minneapolis homebase. This self-titled record is a compilation of the city's themes, emotions and elements brought to life through music and rhyme that's brimming with originality and energy.