Shea Bilé is a an alchemist of words and sounds. I honestly don’t know how to better describe his work. It’s spoken word, but it’s not. It’s orchestral folk, but it’s not. It’s experimental hip hop, but it’s not. It’s occult rituals enacted, but it’s not. It’s book on tape, but it’s not. It’s an amalgamation of very defined conceptual ideas expressed with spoken word over beautifully orchestrated percussion and melodic workouts across synthesizers and strings. I am immediately reminded of the early and more leftfield work from Sole and the more adventurous members of the Anticon camp, but Shea Bilé extends that general concept and approach even further. Instead of merely operating along the seams of hip hop, Shea Bilé seems to have a more defined conceptual approach to his lyrical content and presents a much more refined and deliberate musical component to the recipe.
As per the writeup which accompanies the first two tracks from his forthcoming full length:
“Beast Unburdened” represents the initial steps into the story that takes its path onward and downward the inverse-Tree of Life. This serves as the single release off of the upcoming album “Tzimtzum”.
A lyrically-entwined story comprised of musickal elements not easily drawn-and-quartered, Tzimtzum will encompass an experimental fusion of Neofolk/dark folk instrumentals, coupled with punk-poetic lyricism delivered by spoken word poet/emcee Shea Bilé [sh-ay bee-lay].
Through the vehicle of melancholy, melody, and poetic discourse; the story of Tzimtzum tells of one who destroys himself in a frantic search for the Divine as he traverses through a desolate landscape of steel and stone and becomes disenfranchised with the accepted concept of the divine. Upon doing so, he reverses his inherited fear of Darkness and the monsters the world has created to enslave him; so he seeks to surround himself with those same monsters in order to command them within himself and realizes that the more he plunges into the void – the closer he is to becoming god…
A story of a boy who leaves the world in anger and disgust and comes to an Isle – where he finds solace in the demons he once feared…
As you can see, there is a very definite aim behind his efforts with both the word and the music. And where a lot of artists attempting such lofty conceptual projects get stuck with their head up their own ass and a final product that no one wants to listen to, let alone understands, with these two singles Shea Bilé leaves the listener wanting the rest of the story – not thankful it’s over.
His vocal delivery is passionate and immediate, connecting words and ideas to form very specific and exact images in the listeners mind. The music will likely surprise you, a sort of neofolk tinged color of ritualistic and orchestrated subtle yet refined boom bap breakbeat affairs that are as at home behind Shea’s vocal delivery as they would be as the backdrop to a heavy and intense motion picture or theater play.
I’m really looking forward to the full length release, hoping upon hope that it delivers as successfully as these two singles do.