Reviews

Aesop Rock “Integrated Tech Solutions” Album Review

Integrated Tech Solutions

Aesop Rock

  • Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Date: 10 Nov, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Track(s): 18
  • ℗ 2023 Rhymesayers Entertainment LLC

Another surefire hit, “Integrated Tech Solutions,” is Aesop Rock’s ninth studio album. It’s a vague concept album about our dystopian tech consumerism with a bright, nostalgic sound that bursts with energy. The record combines the lessons he’s learnt from his earlier albums with his current style to create an Aesop Rock that’s completely at ease and genuinely interested in soothing sounds.

Production-wise, Integrated Tech Solutions is very erratic, and Aesop’s lyrical, despite going down several rabbit holes, is holistically focused on its main objectives. It goes without saying that he is one of hip-hop’s most interesting thinkers. There are times when songs on the album make you want to stop and think about the image or link he just created, especially after a particularly piercing bar.

Album Cover Art

Aesop Rock &Quot;Integrated Tech Solutions&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, February 23, 2024

A bunch of things are featured on this cover art including a spaceship in launch, a young woman assuming a Yoga pose, various objects found in a science laboratory, and a man watching keenly and learning from another man.

Tracks and Features

The album opens with a skit titled “The ITS Way,” with a synth melody reminiscent of the 1980s. A fictional firm provides Aesop Rock with an ad that appears on repeat throughout the album. It has a vintage cyberpunk vibe that makes Paul Verhoeven’s “Robocop” come to mind.

“Mindful Solutionism” starts with an 8-bit music featuring sharp snares and a powerful bass line. Aesop examines how humanity has changed throughout millennia along with the technologies we have developed. Eventually, the conclusion is reached that there is one built for destruction and every one made for functionality. Improving quality of life is trumped by weaponization and convenience, indicating an unbalanced dichotomy.

With “Infinity Fill Goose Down’s” gritty percussion, harmonized synth tones, and electric guitar strums, Aesop Rock discusses navigating the underground rap scene and makes a metaphorical allusion to farming. In the techno instrumental “Living Curfew,” Aesop and MC Billy Woods delve into the relationship between destruction and time.

The song “Pigeonometry,” in which Aesop raps about his love of pigeons and how they’ve evolved to live among humans as we’ve polluted the natural world, is where we first notice the first indications of sidetracking. For a whole stanza, Aesop compares himself to Leonardo DaVinci and expresses concern about how future generations will see his influence.

“Aggressive Steven” is a true story of a man who broke into Aesop’s apartment during a manic episode and ruined it. It features a powerful bass riff and echoing snares. He is horrified that the police want him to file charges after they are contacted. Aesop laments the inadequate care received by the mentally ill, who are either imprisoned or abandoned on the streets. It’s an extremely depressing song. Lealani Teano sings a powerful rendition of “Bermuda,” a song about death, over a washed-out vocal track.

Aesop compares society to a river in “By The River,” a jazzy tune with trumpets, gentle synths, and a steady bass line. A warping synth instrumental breaks up the opening piano and guitar duet of “All City Nerve Map.” Aesop explains how he has committed his home’s layout to memory based on the stimuli and feelings that each area arouses. The song “Forward Compatibility Engine” includes Rob Sonic, who previously worked with Aesop Rock as Hail Mary Mallon. Snares give way to claps as the two rhyme over an electric guitar riff.

In his spoken word composition “On Failure,” Aesop muses over Vincent Van Gogh’s destiny. He challenges the idea that the man’s death, at a young age, from poverty and uncertainty, makes him a failure. It’s easy to tell that Aesop and the painters share a strong bond. Another fantastic grimy instrumental, “Solid Gold,” allows Aesop to demonstrate his mastery and poetic ability. It sounds like he let loose a feral animal on the microphone.

The piano notes of the penultimate tune, “Vititus,” give way to synths, bass, and drum in quick succession. Aesop Rock talks about his grandmother, who immigrated from Lithuania, and her love for the family as well as her house and cooking. As the song comes to an end, Aesop learns of her demise. On the closer “Black Snow,” which features Nikki Jean, Aesop raps about what it’s like to live both alone and isolated.

Album Theme

NO TITLE TIME
1 The ITS Way 0:49
2 Mindful Solutionism 3:34
3 Infinity Fill Goose Down 3:32
4 Living Curfew (feat. billy woods) 3:51
5 Pigeonometry 3:32
6 Kyanite Toothpick (feat. Hanni El Khatib) 4:09
7 100 Feet Tall 4:13
8 Salt and Pepper Squid 4:10
9 Time Moves Differently Here 3:48
10 Aggressive Steven 5:18
11 Bermuda (feat. Lealani) 3:17
12 By the River 2:38
13 All City Nerve Map 3:54
14 Forward Compatibility Engine (feat. Rob Sonic) 3:52
15 On Failure 1:59
16 Solid Gold 2:25
17 Vititus 4:08
18 Black Snow (feat. Nikki Jean) 4:52

On the new album l, Aesop expresses his concerns and thoughts about how technology is used by humans in their daily lives.

Production Credits

Aesop Rock & Hanni El Khatib produced the album.

Stream

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