Music Review: Deaf Judges by uncdiversions
July 2, 2009, 6:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Deaf Judges

All Rise

(Emerald City Ruins)

Several years ago Rolling Stone named Chapel Hill the second best college town for music in the U.S. Coming in at number eight was the headquarters of the University of Georgia, Athens. Making a name for yourself around either one of these aforementioned towns is a kind of a big deal given the high regard in which they are held. Breaking out, however, of the friendly confines of a hometown bias is a whole other battle.

Athens group Deaf Judges has figured out a way to get around the whole localized appeal problem. They just take such a wide array of musical influences and elements and toss them into the mix that it comes out as a delightfully raw hodgepodge of sound and lyrical fury that it accommodates a wider variety of listeners than a normal group would.

To best describe Deaf Judges and what to expect when you listen to their new album All Rise, it’s as if MF Doom – now DOOM – and the guys from Endless Mic procreated. It’s like this both both in the lyrics and the production.

The three emcees, Rorshak, Produce Man and Louie Carlysle, share time on the mic preventing any onset of rapper-hypnosis, the tediousness of having to repeatedly listen to the same person/style of delivery for an extended time. It really helps the group because of their DOOM-like spoken word rapping method.

Besides the similarity in delivery technique to a masked Brit, Deaf Judges saturate rhymes with a blend of grimy, intellectual, punk-like wit. For instance, in “T.V. Thieves,” the group name drop the Russian authors Baryshnikov and Tchaikovsky and also reference sex moves named for unkempt Latinos.

Also, you can sense the impact underground literary figures such as Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson have had on the lives of these guys in the ways in which they manipulate their choice of words.

To backup the three wordsmiths is only one producer, DJ Cubenza. Not to stick the group back into an established artist’s shadow, but many of the album’s 15 tracks sound boosted from a DOOM record. Granted they are all well done and offer an alternative to mainstream hip-hop, but the snippets of old recordings and widespread use of sound effects are still too similar to DOOM’s distinctive identity.

So all told, All Rise is somewhat unique and very re-playable, but because an a similarly unique artist has come before, it makes Deaf judges a lot harder to fully appreciate.

– By Diversions Staff Writer Benn Wineka


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