By Ceiling Demons
Ceiling Demons are an 'alternative hip-hop joint'. Twin brothers Psy Ceiling and Dan Demon serve as the wordsmiths of the outfit, leaving Jesster in charge of the beats. Together they create a soundscape that makes you want to go to an all night rave, just so you can enjoy listening to them in the bath afterwards. The EP is small and very well formed indeed; in at 20 minutes, you can even vacate the bath just before you begin to go all pruney! But these guys certainly have more to offer than bath time relaxation - they're hardly Enya. Ceiling Demons, as their overall image suggests, experiment with darkness and light in their music, but before I get to that I'll get my one gripe out of the way.
The opening track, 'Incarnadine', samples a number of speeches including words from the likes of Marley and Lennon. Some sections are inaudible and as a result they don't flow together well. This makes the reason for their use a little unclear and leaves the listener more perplexed than inspired. Speech sampling can be effective at creating a mood or conveying a message but in this instance neither was fully achieved, which meant the speeches didn't feel enough like part of the song. However, this is a minor criticism in the grand scheme of things. All is certainly not lost. What essentially distracts from the words of the speakers is the hypnotic and wonderfully spacey backing track, which actually does fit well in terms of pacing and as far as sound goes is a promising sign of things to come.
The rest of the EP is brilliant. Massive personality, heaps of originality and clever sampling are all to be found here. They use their energy and unique rapping style to put their own stamp on and punctuate each song. Also, contrary to the criticism of the opening track, 'Homage to the North' uses the film 'Brassed Off' in a wonderful way to create a short song that does just what it says on the tin.
Sometimes sounding visionary and prophetic in their lyricism you also get a sense of sincerity and feeling from Ceiling Demons, which is a great foundation for any artist to build upon. They're also very good at spacey sound, which draws you in and essentially makes you move to the beat. In fact you'd probably look a right doughnut listening to them on the bus, but at least you'd be having a great time. You can't help but feel uplifted and somehow unified with them and their ethos, sound and voice. To draw any comparisons is quite difficult and I only thought a couple were worth mentioning. There are moments that remind me of Scroobius Pip, which is certainly a compliment. Except one thing should be said in relation to this, and please take note Ceiling Demons. Thou shalt not, I repeat, thou shalt not collaborate with Kate Nash, or become overly preachy, and I'm sure you'll go far.
The EP made a permanent transition into my iTunes, an easy decision. Trying to decide whether or not hip-hop translates well from CD to live performance is not so easy, and possibly harder than with any other genre. I sincerely hope that Ceiling Demon's do gig, and gig well. Also, I think I'm right in saying that they reference Jehst's 'People Under the Weather' in one of their songs. This really made me curious about whether or not they can live up to the high standard of live performance set by those who have perhaps most influenced their sound. I'll be watching this space.