‘Conspiro Media’ reviews some of the more meaningful and conscious-minded music-releases from last month in a new, regular feature…

replay march 2015 banner reversed

There can be no denying, surely, that we live in an era that’s in short supply of music-artists with mass fame, influence and appeal who communicate anything meaningful in the tracks they release.

All is not lost though.

There is material available out there that calls out social injustices, highlights corruption and conspiracy, delves into the positive (instead of the regularly-pushed darker) aspects of the esoteric and the arcane, and celebrates our universe and its wonders. Thing is, to find all this, you often have to look for yourself because it’s not usually at the forefront of the mainstream media’s priority-list. As a response to this, ‘Conspiro Media’ will, beginning with this March 2015 review, be delivering regular posts on the latest releases it has come across that do explore these topics and themes. First up in this maiden instalment, is ‘Anaesthetist’ by Enter Shikari, one of those rare contemporary ‘Top 40’ bands that’s happy, in the words of member, Rou Reynolds, to be described as “socially conscious.” This track, he‘s said, is about the “slow move into privatisation” of the UK’s publicly-funded National Health Service (NHS). “I think free healthcare’s just so important – taking care of the vulnerable in society… it’s just something we wanted to write about. To attack those that put profit over people,” he stated in an interview for ‘Kerrang! Radio’ in January this year. In March came reports that the NHS had agreed the biggest ever privatisation deal which will see eleven profit-driven firms carry out heart and joint surgery and other types of operations as well as scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests, apparently in a bid to tackle a backlog of patients waiting for treatment. Christina McAnea, the Head of Health of ‘Unison,’ one of the UK’s largest trade unions, was quoted as saying, “there wouldn’t be such a… backlog if ministers had properly invested in the NHS. Instead, they’ve starved it of funds, and demoralised staff.“ Furthermore, “we now have companies with terrible track-records being given money to provide essential services.” This is no doubt in reference to news that some of the companies chosen for the deal have in the past been pulled-over due to issues regarding their poor quality of treatment in hospitals and old-people’s homes. In May last year for example, one of those aforementioned firms, ‘Vanguard Health Solutions,’ had its contract to carry out cataract-operations in the English county of Somerset cancelled following “complications“ with patients under its care. An investigation and subsequent report on its performance, released in October 2014, concluded that of the 62 of those who underwent surgery that year, two suffered burns, at least six, loss of iris pigment, and a minimum of four were left with microscopic metallic fragments in the eye. Three required further surgical treatment. Commenting on the latest private-contract awards – which are said to total almost £800 million, eclipsing 2012‘s privatisation-agreement worth £500 million, which saw ‘Virgin Care‘ given the go-ahead to provide community services in a section of the UK until 2017 – Professor Sue Richards, Co-Chair of the campaign-group, ‘Keep Our NHS Public,’ was quoted as saying, “we have warned against creeping privatisation, but now the pace is quickening to a gallop.” She went on, “the Government is putting its own ideological commitment to the market and to the vested interests of the private health-care industry ahead of patients’ needs.” Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds told news-site ‘The Huffington Post,’ in January this year, “we seemed to have reached a stage of such capitalistic fervour, that we believe it acceptable to punish people for ill health. enter shikari logoBy charging for healthcare we act as if illness is nothing but one’s own problem, but what is the purpose and advantage of ‘civilisation’ if it is not helping the most vulnerable within society? The lottery of birth can offer us a wealth of bad luck when it comes to our health and the safety-nets are being pulled-in as the desire to boost profit overtakes the desire to help people.” Some of these sentiments are touched-upon in the lyrics of Enter Shikari’s ‘Anaesthetist.’ Initially released in January, the track was re-launched in March stripped of its original Rock form by production/remix duo, Koven, who’ve given it a Drum & Bass re-working.

‘Anaesthetist’ (lyrics)

(Anaesthetist)

(Anaesthetist)

Doctor, fetch the anaesthetist (Anaesthetist)
Fetch the anaesthetist
So when I go under the knife I believe in this
Fetch the anaesthetist (Anaesthetist)
Fetch the anaesthetist
So when I go under the knife I believe!

You f****n’ spanner!
Just a cog in the industrial complex!
You shed your blood for the conflicted
You parasite!
You’re playin’ God and you don’t care who it affects!
You suck the blood of the afflicted
You suck the blood of the afflicted

Illness is not an indulgence which you should pay for
Nor is it a crime for which you should be punished
For this conviction I would endanger my health, shut it! (Oi!) 
(Just consume, crave riches and lust for fame)
No, you won’t see us participatin’ in that game
Keep your twisted take on success
‘Cause all I really want is what’s beating in your chest

Doctor, fetch the anaesthetist (Anaesthetist)
Fetch the anaesthetist
So when I go under the knife I believe in this
Fetch the anaesthetist (Anaesthetist)
Fetch the anaesthetist
So when I go under the knife I believe!

We drink to your health!
But just to inform, this round’s on you!
And every day you roll the dice
We drink to your health!
We capitalise on your condition!
Bad luck, you pay the price
Bad luck, you pay the price

Fetch the anaesthetist (Anaesthetist)
Fetch the anaesthetist
So when I go under the knife I believe in this
You sold us short!
You will not profit off our health

Step the f**k back!

————————

Below, the video to the original version. “It’s basically set in a almost-abandoned hospital, but they’re still sort of trying to… keep it going and it’s basically got so bad that even the doctor’s sick,” Enter Shikari’s guitarist, Rory Clewlow has explained. Indeed. It begins with shots of the said doctor (an anaesthetist) coughing-up blood as he’s walking along a street. Not long after this, we see an A&E waiting-room almost packed-out to capacity with, in the words of the promo’s director, Mike Tyler, “lots of ill and angry people who’re complaining about the fact they’ve got to wait because the NHS has gone to s**t.” Later on, Rou makes it to the hospital and ends up on an operating-table under the watch of the sick anaesthetist. The video ends with a quotation from Aneurin Bevan, the Welsh politician who’s credited with spearheading the establishment of the National Health Service in the 1940s.

Next up in this review is Lupe Fiasco the famous rapper who, in the past, has waxed lyrical against the bombing of Gaza, and issues ranging from the false-flag that was 9/11, the so-called ‘War on Terror,’ and – in his own words – “the crooked banks around the world.” Reportedly an out-take from his 2012 album, ‘Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1,’ the track, ‘Atomic Misphilosphy’ went public in mid-March. It decries war and accuses those who wage it of “falsely” giving “themselves the title of Masters of the Universe and gatekeepers of morality.” It weaves from one historical reference to another throughout, mostly related to nuclear weapons and their horrific effects – for example, there’s a name-check to “Colonel Tibbets,“ the US-pilot of the ‘Enola Gay,’ the aircraft that dropped the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Towards the end of the track, Lupe raps, “nuclear stockpile’s America’s second largest, the world’s most destructive and the world’s most heartless. Under the auspices that war will be rendered harmless and everlasting peace will be in reach if we just bomb s**t.”

‘Atomic Misphilosophy’ (lyrics)
[Intro:]
War gives value to life by showing it can be taken away
And in a perverted way, those who wage war delude themselves into thinking they create life
Or at least make it meaningful
Thus, using that as a basis for grandiose notions of supremacy
Falsely giving themselves the title of masters of the universe
And gatekeepers of morality

[Verse 1:]
Peace trials and living power pleasure over pain
Geiger counters check amounts of radiation in the rain
Biochemical nuke, gas masks and rubber boots
Inhale your last gasp without a Hazmat suit
Terrible, unbearable miracle of the modern scientific
Arms race, chase for the horrific
Manhattan project, man cancelling concept
Catastrophic bomb, a fabric-shattering context
A little boy falling from a metal bird
Followed by a fat man who left behind a leveled earth
Imbalanced challenge to survival of the whole piece
Have seeked to staff the whole planet with their own peeps
A zone beeps of contaminated contents
Atomically activated, saturated beyond its
Limits, to live within its boundaries with conscience
To cancer cells, I’m not totally unresponsive

[Hook:]
Cause in future’s shock, there where everything’s storied
I don’t feel like there’s anything for me
I hope they put this out
Cause in future’s shock, there where everything’s storied
I don’t feel like there’s anything for me
I hope they figure out
This atomic misphilosophy

[Verse 2:]
Uninhabitable avenues, third wars in southern latitudes
Mutually assured that it all happens to
International violence leaves us black and blue
Blast us back into the past if attack ensues
A pack-approved tactic fully practiced
On the evil of the axis back in World War Two
The melted lunchbox of a disintegrated girl
Dogs on fighters, mosquitoes, flies and squirrels
Men, women and children have their bones cooked to ash
And their shadows burning to the ground from the flash
And if they didn’t pass what’s the future, Hibakusha?
You say you need a job, but they won’t give it to ya
In the era where they said the greatest evil was that white man
From the reich land, but this was coming from the same people
Who thought that Jim Crow was all ‘ight then’
Same thing that kept Colonel Tibbets on his flight plan

[Hook]

[Verse 3:]
Nuclear stockpile’s America’s second largest
The world’s most destructive and the world’s most heartless
Under the auspices that war will be rendered harmless
And everlasting peace will be in reach if we just bomb shit
Technologically fanatic racial socio-
Economic faux-intellectual fucking nonsense
Dripping with political interludes, typical of a system
Stark raving mad and operating unconscious
Now how do we proceed?
Knowing through the man’s fatalism
And probably you’ll never leave
A disease trying to cure its own symptoms with disease
Creating an epidemic just to see if it can be
Genuine mistrust of everything but us
Based on artificial evidence, but mostly racists at the crux
Let’s pray they throw ’em all out
And I hope I don’t see you
Through the foggy field of vision in the fall out

———————————————————-

Moving on now to something of a lighter nature – quite literally, actually. In early-March came the release of the album, ’Sol’ by US-based music-producer and composer, Eskmo (real name, Brendan Angelides). It is, so states his official website, “an emotive, thought-provoking narrative regarding the sun.” Part of the inspiration for it came to him, he claims, from his experiences during a visit to Egypt in December 2012, where he played live by the Pyramids. In a recent interview published in the Los Angeles Arts-inspired website, ’LA Canvas,’ he said he “went to Egypt… for the December solstice, to the Mayan calendar date, December 21st 2012… I went down to the Nile for four days, and we just stopped at temples every morning. It was a huge experience for sure. I couldn’t say exactly how I took that and directly applied it to the music, but I know it absolutely worked its way in there.”

Eskmo

Eskmo

Discussing the album with ‘DazedDigital.com,’ Eskmo pointed out that “originally when I started writing the album, I specifically wanted to write an album that sounded like the sun.” From that idea came the track, ‘The Light of One Thousand Furnaces,’ and the title-cut, ‘Sol.’ He told ‘LA Canvas,’ “I was basically picturing – there’s a track on the album, ‘Sol,’ the name of the album too – the light of 100 furnaces. The feel for me, one is like the sun baking like it would be. The other is ‘The Light of One Thousand Furnaces’ and it’s kind of like a solar flare, some expansive thing”…

“For the sun, I wanted to get this beaming, big feeling,” Eskmo told DazedDigital. “The sun is a drum – I specifically was inspired by this idea, that our whole entire existence on the planet seems like a huge thing, but imagine zooming out and seeing our sun is just a singular drum-hit. For us it seems like it’s going on forever, but imagine, if you were to zoom way out, the sun just seems like a little blip of energy, and it happens that our whole lives are based around that one blip of energy. I tried to convey that through big, saturated tones.”
From the album, here‘s ‘The Sun Is A Drum.’ Vocals on this, as well as on other assorted tracks on ‘Sol,‘ all courtesy of Eskmo:

Here’s a question for you… Have you ever heard the sound of snow… actual snow – the white stuff that falls from the sky? Well, it’s on the ‘Sol’ album apparently. Eskmo, who in the past has said one of his biggest influences is “environment. Just environments in general – city, nature, rooms – the way people interact, the way sounds interact,” has told DazedDigital that he “was recording fire and snow” in the US ski-resort, Aspen for ‘Feed Fire,’ a track from his new release…

In an interview some years back for the entertainment website, ‘AV Club,‘ Eskmo said the ideal result after looking for and recording environmental sounds out in the field was for “anything that creates an environment. Any field-recording that brings you to a vivid environment.” It’s “the most effective,“ he stated. As an example, he cited the ’90s track ’Chocolate Jesus’ by veteran singer/musician, Tom Waits. “You can hear a rooster in the background, and that really puts you in a place”:

For the ‘Sol’ album-track ‘Blue & Grey,’ Eskmo recorded water in California. “‘Blue & Grey’, that’s about the blue heron,” he told LA Canvas. “That’s me literally singing about a blue heron”:

The album’s theme, he’s said, was shaped by personal events that unfolded during the writing process. He told LA Canvas, “I had a relationship end, I had my biological father die, I had just normal life stuff happen. But I also had amazing things happening too. So, okay, I’m writing the album, then some other songs would come, and it’d be like, ‘oh, wow,‘ that’s like a heartbreak song and that’s very authentically what happened, and I’m just expressing that. Then… ‘Blue and Grey’… I’m sampling water… So for me, I’m trying to write this song but I don’t know why this other stuff is coming up. The emotions and different things, where I got to, when I sat back and looked at all the different stuff – I realised that I had originally set out to write the song, but then I ended up writing about relationships, and for me that ended up being the moon. So for me it almost felt like the sun was the initial inspiration for it, and then just… naturally flowed from coming out of my relationship, the moon, with the female person in my life… So it’s very much like this idea of a human-being experiencing the power, the feeling of the sun, and the wateriness of the moon,” and – he told DazedDigital – “the Earth being the human side of it.”

The front-cover artwork of the album – which you will have seen in the above ‘YouTube’ video-screens – is courtesy of English sculptor, Kate MccGuire. She specialises in the medium of feathers. Eskmo has said, “this album… I was making a mood-board, a ‘Pinterest’ board for tons of stuff I was finding online. I kept coming back to this particular person’s art. She does feather-art. I was also looking at rings of the sun, from NASA and that kind of stuff. For some reason, I just kept coming back to her work. It just felt so right. The idea of combining feathers, birds and the sun and have it feel organic yet having it look kind of alien in a way – for me it just kind of all fits together. Some people thought it was the bottom of a mushroom. Or an eyeball”…

sol album cover eskmo

March also saw the release of ‘On & On,’ a House-music track by DJ/producer, Wolfex. It’s a hook-driven, feel-good shout-out to weekend club-life, expressed vocally through the talents of guest-singer, Dana. Most of the lyrical emphasis though is provided on the mic by fellow contributor, Swayze, a London-based MC who’s normally to be heard delivering rhymes of a heavier nature. This new cut – for him – is an enjoyable, but temporary diversion from chem-trails, microchips, and greedy bankers and corporates – just some of the subjects and themes within the NWO plan that he’s rapped against since first beginning his musical journey just a few short years ago. In actual fact, he talked a bit about this with ‘Conspiro Media’ – or, to be exact – with me, Matt Sergiou, during a conversation last week, which was specially-recorded for this review (and which you can watch below). He also spoke about his ‘Corporate Jaws’ EP and other jams he’s set-down, his experiences performing live and the response of audiences to his ‘Alternative’ lyrics, the creative process he undergoes to attain these rhymes in the first place, his Hip Hop influences, and, also, his personal take on David Icke’s highly controversial ‘People’s Voice’ channel which he briefly came into close contact with, appearing in an episode of its music-show, ’The Banned.’
This conversation was recorded on April 9th 2015…

Check out the links directly below if you want to see and hear more from Swayze, a seriously-talented poet with a vocal-delivery that flows easy like fluid, and yet remains firm, focused.
Spread the word:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmFjWi_6P32RALE8PZrEHvw

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXeqoffI_ojMmihNMddvlNQ

http://mcswayze.bandcamp.com/

Okay… another rapper. This time, it’s the turn of Kendrick Lamar who, last month, released – in his own words – his “second album on a mainstream commercial level” – that being, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly.’ It is, in a way, a concept-album, and, when listened to in its whole, quite like nothing else you’ll come across within today’s so-called ‘Hip Hop / Urban’ genre. kendrick lamarUnlike many of his contemporaries, he doesn’t regularly spit lyrics in homage to bling, bucks and booty, even though he’s apparently in a position to do so if he wished, given that he’s a platinum-selling, chart-breaking, Grammy Award-winning artist of widespread acclaim and repute. Instead, he opens up on the pitfalls, not the highs that come with fame and wealth. For example, on the track ‘Wesley’s Theory’ – a title, incidentally, inspired by Wesley Snipes, the Hollywood actor who was jailed a few years back for not filing tax-returns – Lamar raps:

What you want you? A house or a car? Forty acres and a mule, a piano, a guitar? Anything, see, my name is Uncle Sam on your dollar.

Don’t have receipts? (Oh man, that’s fine) Pay me later, wear those gators.

I can see the borrow in you. I can see the dollar in you.

Get it all. You deserve it, Kendrick.

But remember, you ain’t pass economics in school
And everything you buy, taxes will deny.
I’ll Wesley Snipe your ass before you’re thirty-five.

Lamar recently said ‘Wesley’s Theory’ is “about something that we weren’t taught in school – where we get this money. I spent all my time in school and escaping prison and escaping The System, so you mean to tell me the moment I become successful… I get some money and I don’t know how to manage my money, that you’re going to throw me back in jail? For taxes? Nobody prepared us for this.”

It would appear, once studying the album in its entirety, that Lamar’s relationship with fame has, at times, left him feeling powerless, in a state of intense depression (bordering on the suicidal it seems), and wracked with self-loathing. This is typified by the track, ‘U.‘ In a recent interview, he said it “was one of the hardest songs I had to write. There’s some very dark moments in there. All my insecurities and selfishness and letdowns.” In it, there’s a line reportedly lamenting the pregnancy of his teenage sister, a pregnancy that might not have occurred if he had been around perhaps. He raps (to himself):

… you ain’t s**t I’m convinced your talent’s nothin’ special.
What can I blame him for, nigga I can name several.
Situation had stopped with your little sister bakin’ a baby inside
Just a teenager, where’s your antennas.
What’s your intentions where is the influence you speak of.
You preached in front of 100,000 but never reached her.
I f****n’ tell you, you f****n’ failure you ain’t no leader.

Listening to this track, one might get the sense that Kendrick has experienced intense feelings of guilt for the success he’s achieved as a music-artist, especially because it’s resulted in him moving out of Compton, the notoriously-tough city in California where he grew up with little money and, in his later years, where he and his homies were up to no good running from cops, or getting shot at – and at least on one occasion, fatally. It’s as though he feels he’s abandoned his roots, turned his back on his past. In the second main-verse for example, he beats-up on himself for failing to be there for a friend, reportedly someone from his old neighbourhood, following a shooting:

Where was your presence, where was your support that you pretend?
You ain’t no brother, you ain’t no disciple, you ain’t no friend.
A friend never leave Compton for profit or leave his best friend.
Little brother, you promised you’d watch him before they shot him.
Where was your antennas, on the road, bottles and bitches.

The last line in the passage above might be implying that Kendrick has at one time or another succumbed to the hedonistic temptations bestowed upon popular music-artists? Recently, he said, “we all have temptations, you know? We fall victim to it every day. It’s a tough thing to deal with. Me, I’m just fortunate enough to translate them temptations through record.” Just how far the lure has reached is perhaps best-illustrated on the track, ‘For Sale?’ in which the rapper can be heard conversing with or making references to “Lucy.” Apparently – as you might have guessed already – this is actually, Lucifer. From the track:

Lucy gone fill your pockets.
Lucy gone move your mama out of Compton.
Inside the gi-gantic mansion like I promised.
Lucy just want you trust and loyalty.
Avoiding me?
It’s not so easy, I’m at these functions accordingly.
Kendrick, Lucy don’t slack a minute.
Lucy work harder.
Lucy gone call you even when Lucy know you love your father.

The track ends with a passage that’s repeated a number of times throughout the album:

I remembered you was conflicted.
Misusing your influence, sometimes I did the same.
Abusing my power, full of resentment.
Resentment that turned into a deep depression.
Found myself screamin’ in the hotel-room.
I didn’t wanna self-destruct.
The evils of Lucy was all around me
So I went runnin’ for answers
Until I came home.

Kendrick recently told music-channel, ‘MTV’ that ‘Lucy’ is about him “coming to a realisation of the evils rather than acting like it’s not going around… My thoughts are happening right in front of my face. I gotta present ‘em.” But for all the darkness, angst and negativity that’s prevalent on this album, there’s an equal measure of positivity to go along with it too. According to Lamar, “the overall theme, for me personally, for this album is really, leadership. How can I use it? For better or for worse? Money… celebrity – how can I use it? How can I pimp it? Can I pimp it negatively, or can I pimp it in a positive way? Positive for me is showing what I go through, showing what I’ve been through… and saying I still love myself at the end of the day.” Lamar repeatedly states “I love myself” during the hooks in the track, ‘I,’ which is inspired, he’s said, from a conversation with friends in Compton about the perils of the city. “The reason why a lot of the turmoil in the city is simple the fact because we don’t have self-love… and it comes from within. A lot of cats that go to jail, you know, being in these homes, these foster-homes… they never had that love within themselves… “

It was the turmoil he claims to have witnessed in South Africa during a recent visit that, he states, was a “turning-point” in deciding the direction of the album. “When I went to Africa and I got to see other people’s problems, you know, their struggle… Going out there really inspired – I wrote a lot of records off the album just by visiting South Africa and being able to move around like I did. And that was the moment I knew, ‘okay. I can either pimp this situation, or I can fall victim to it.’” One of the tracks inspired by the struggles and “problems” he says he witnessed during his trip was, ’How Much A Dollar Cost?’ It is, he‘s stated, “a true story. Where was I? Johannesburg, and, erm, I always flirted with the idea – just my imagination – rolling past people that were – that we consider bums or homeless – and saying to myself, ’what if that was the moment, you know, this is not a human form, but this is a mortal form of an angel testing your integrity to actually stop – not just give ’em money, but talk to ’em.’ You know what I’m saying? I’m looking at this guy on the side, you know… and I’m just ignoring him because, from where I come from, these are just pan-handlers… ‘I know what you’re gonna do with the money – you’re gonna smoke it off, you’re gonna get some Crack or whatever – even if… how much you tell me that you wanna do this one, I know what you’re gonna do so I’m not engaging in it.’ But, the moment I actually engaged with him, he said, ‘God bless you. This is your calling.’ And it blew my mind. Like, really tripped me out. Making me think – these are moments in my life deeper than just handing somebody a dollar. These are actually moments of integrity – being able to actually talk to somebody. Me talking to him was simply a thank you from God, you know what I‘m saying? And I felt God speaking through him to get at me, you know? And it was a real trip and I tend to always bottle these ideas in because I wanna share them with the world. And that’s how you get a record like ’How Much A Dollar Cost?’”

There’s a number of seriously big-name guests on the album. Dr. Dre and George Clinton – the Funkmeister himself – feature on ‘Wesley’s Theory.’ Veteran Soul pioneer, Ronald Isley can be heard on ‘How Much A Dollar Cost?,’ and there’s an appearance from Snoop Dogg too. But, as illustrious as these guys might be deemed by music-fans the world over, it’s perhaps fair to conclude that, were there to be a list drawn-up for who should receive top-attention billing on this release, all these men would be eclipsed by Tupac Shakur. Yes, that’s right… Tupac – the iconic rapper who was shot and killed (or not, if we‘re to believe the theories out there) in 1996. But it’s not the fact that his voice has been lent to the album that’s of interest here – after all – it wouldn’t be the first time his vocal talents have emanated from ’beyond the grave’ (as it were) on various releases. It’s how they’ve been used that’s the clincher. You see, his appearance with Lamar on the cut, ‘Mortal Man’ isn’t quite what the unsuspecting listener might expect. For one thing, there isn’t what’s commonly described as ’a duet’ happening between the two on it. Well, certainly not in the same way as we get on ‘Ghetto Heaven,‘ Shakur’s 2005 No.1 hit with – of all people – Elton John. No, this isn’t your usual remix-job. For starters, Tupac isn’t rapping on the track. He’s talking, in conversation with, well, Lamar. It’s as though one of them has travelled through time, met with the other and sat down for a chat. Or so it might sound if you were to let your imagination fly? kendrick tupacActually, the long-departed legend’s voice has been lifted from an audio-recording of him speaking to a radio-host in 1994. The decades-old (nigh on historic some would say) Q&A-session has been administered on ‘Mortal Man’ in such a way as to give the impression that it’s Kendrick that’s interviewing Tupac. This album-cut is relevant to this review because, as has been noted by Lamar, “the answers that Pac is giving are answers for today.”

Here’s some excerpts:

Kendrick:
“I always wanted to ask you about a certain situa-, about a metaphor actually. You spoke on ‘the ground.’ What you mean ‘bout that, what the ground represent?”

Tupac:
“The ground is gonna open up and swallow the evil. That’s how I see it, my word is bond. I see and the ground is the symbol for the poor people, the poor people is gonna open up this whole world and swallow up the rich people. ‘Cause the rich people gonna be so fat, they gonna be so appetising, you know what I’m saying, wealthy, appetising. The poor gonna be so poor and hungry, you know what I’m saying it’s gonna be like… there might be some cannibalism out this mutha, they might eat the rich.”

Kendrick:
“Aight well, how long you think it take before niggas be like, we fighting a war, I’m fighting a war I can’t win and I wanna lay it all down.”

Tupac:
“In this country a Black man only have like five years we can exhibit maximum strength, and that’s right now while you a teenager, while you still strong or while you still wanna lift weights, while you still wanna shoot back. Cause once you turn thirty, it’s like they take the heart and soul out of a man, out of a Black man in this country. And you don’t wanna fight no more. And if you don’t believe me you can look around, you don’t see no loud mouth 30-year old muthaf****s.”

You can listen to this exchange in its entirety – along with the track, ’Mortal Man’ – below:

Kendrick has said the title of his new album is him wanting “to show the brightness of life and the word, ‘pimp’ has so much aggression, and that represents several things. For me, it represents using my celebrity for good – you know what I mean? Another reason is not being pimped by the industry through my celebrity…so, it gets even deeper than that for me, I could be talking all day about it but…” Well, please allow ‘Conspiro Media’ to elaborate on this then, if only briefly? What the rapper is doing is grabbing ownership of the word ‘pimp’ and tearing it away from its association with, as he says, “aggression,” thus, turning a negative into a positive. Maybe the ‘butterfly’ in the title is another version of this, there to symbolise transformation of the most beautiful kind, in this case a crawling caterpillar morphing into a thing of magnificence? Of course, as a form of symbolism, the butterfly takes on a dark shape too. It hasn’t escaped the attention of ‘Conspiro Media’ that what we’re possibly looking at here is evidence of a music-artist under the spell of Mind Kontrol. Take, for example, the picture below of Lamar who, incidentally, has talked in the past about how he once fell “into a deep sleep and” saw “a vision of Tupac talking to” him. Published in an April 2015 edition of the UK magazine, ‘New Musical Express’ (’NME’), this illustration is, to put it mildly, rather provocative…

kendrick lamar to pimp a butterfly nme Any questions regarding Kendrick Lamar’s possible Mind Kontrol are best left explored some other time though – this is, after all, a review, not a lengthy expose. The main focus here is on new music-content that says something meaningful and/or positive to us regardless of who’s singing it, rapping it, strumming it or banging it. Still, there was a degree of trepidation over the inclusion of the next recording-act, given that its reputation as the unofficial band of the so-called ‘Truth Movement’ was severely jeopardised – if not destroyed – following a succession of events back in 2012 that drew suspicion, the worst of which was when the lead-singer changed his stance on 9/11 dismissing an earlier statement in which he called it “an inside job.” If you haven’t guessed already, the group being referred to is, Muse. In 2006, its front-man, Matt Bellamy told ‘Kerrang!’ magazine, “9/11 is clearly an inside job, there’s massive evidence that suggests it was allowed to happen, or even worse, deliberately made to happen. I’ve been playing with the fear of talking about some of this stuff because there’ll obviously be a backlash, but I feel strongly about it that I’ve got to say it.” But, in a 2012 interview he said, “I don’t believe that any more, although there are lots of questions to be answered.” Bellamy, who in the years prior to this, had penned a track titled, ‘MK Ultra,’ had named one of his albums, ‘HAARP,’ and had spoken out publicly in the mainstream about a number of issues mostly confined within the fringes, such as the looming micro-chipping agenda, added, “I still read about political history, the influence of corporations and the military but I make sure I’m reading from credible sources. I think my political views are a bit more nuanced now.”

Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy

In an interview for the newspaper/website, ‘The Guardian‘ published a week or so after this, he said, “I was getting very drawn into obscure conspiracy theories. As time’s moved on I’ve become far more rational and empirical and I’ve managed to focus on slightly more realistic, tangible things.” A day after this came the release of the Muse album, ‘The 2nd Law.‘ Although some of the tracks deal with issues of a geo-political nature such as ‘Explorers’ (a sad lament over the handing over of countries’ lands and resources to corporations), ‘Supremacy’ (a grandiose mini-epic that directs its energy against the cruel Powers That Be), and the vitriolic ‘Animals’ (a cut that proves Bellamy has lost none of his lyrical bite, as he sings out against the greedy bankers: “kill yourself… come on and do us all a favour”), it’s absent of material related to suppressed, fringe topics, as explored on previous recordings. Presumably inspired by Matt‘s “nuanced” views, how would this apparent change in direction impact on the band’s musical message in future? Would there be any room for so-called “obscure conspiracy theories” any more? These are some of the questions ‘Conspiro Media’ asked back in November 2012 in the closing paragraphs of a lengthy Muse retrospective that traces the group’s history from the release of its debut album, ‘Showbiz‘ in 1999 through to ‘The 2nd Law.’ You can read it here:

https://conspiromedia.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/muse-are-well-and-truly-back-and-touring-the-world-in-support-of-their-newest-album-the-2nd-law-but-whats-happened-to-the-conspiracy-theories-conspiro-media-attempts-to-find-out-by-embark/

As you’ll notice if you read the above article, these questions were left unanswered because – in the view of ‘Conspiro Media’ – it was still too early to conclude one way or another. Perhaps the next album would shed more light on this? Well, there’s not long to wait now. In June 2015 comes the release of ‘Drones,‘ the band’s next collection of tracks. Two taster-cuts were unleashed throughout March, both as singles. The second of the pair to emerge was, ‘Dead Inside.’ Bellamy has told music-magazine, ‘Q,’ that it’s a song about “a relationship ending and a person becoming dead inside themselves.” It’s “where the story of the album begins, where the protagonist loses hope,” he states on the Muse official website and ‘YouTube‘ channel. The album finds the aforementioned protagonist – in Matt’s own words – going “on a journey throughout.” Speaking recently on BBC Radio1 about the underlying narrative of ‘Drones,’ he said, “the first song is… a pretty jaded song where a person loses hope and – kind of – therefore becomes vulnerable to, kind of, the darker forces which happen on the next few songs.”
Released on March 23rd on the band’s ‘YouTube’ page, here’s the official lyric-video to ‘Dead Inside‘…

One of “the darker forces” that the protagonist of the album becomes vulnerable to is “military brainwashing,” said Bellamy in his BBC interview. This theme is explored in the official lyric-video to the riff-heavy Rocker, ’Psycho,’ the other of the two taster-tracks released last month by Muse. Not long into the beginning of the promo, a US Army drill-instructor appears right up close to the screen shouting out, “if you do not do what you are told to do when you’re told to do it, you will be punished! Do you understand?!” He points and jabs his finger towards our direction in a threatening manner. His eyes – aggressive, full of rage – are looking into ours, staring at us. Or are they, because we then see the mouth of a subordinate crying back, “aye, sir!” As the song begins to start-up in the background, the drill-instructor yells, “your ass belongs to me now!!” To which the reply – once again – is, “aye, sir!!” The backbeat of the track thumps-in and Muse comes into shot for the first time, largely blacked-out from view, only definable by the band-members’ body-shapes and the instruments they’re playing. They remain this way for most of the video. Meanwhile, behind them, footage of marching soldiers, rolling tanks, explosions, and various other moving-images of a war-like nature supply the backdrop. We also see and hear from the drill-instructor again during the promo. Bellamy sings, “come to me now. I could use someone like you. Someone who’ll kill on my command and asks no questions. Your mind is just a program and I’m the virus. I’m changing the station. I’ll improve the thresholds. I’ll turn you into a super-drone. And you will kill on my command. I’m gonna make you a f*****g psycho!”

The album’s narrative “just gets darker and darker” after ‘Psycho,’ Bellamy told Australian radio-station, ‘Triple j’ recently. “You got songs like, ‘Mercy.’ ‘The Handler’ is really dark – that’s kind of – and the theme is like battling the dark forces of other people trying to control your mind and trying to make you do stuff you don’t wanna do. And then eventually it gets to songs like ‘Defector’ and ‘Revolt,’ where, basically, the person starts to fight back at the Powers That Be, and then… that’s… the positive side of the album. And then ‘Aftermath’ is kinda the re-discovery of love again, you know?” The penultimate track, ‘The Globalist,’ he told BBC Radio1, “is just like a crazy, mental ten-minute Prog nightmare which is about the rise and fall of a dictator… and the end of the world and World War III.”
Below, the track-listing for the forthcoming album, which includes a cut intriguingly titled, ‘[JFK]’…

1) Dead Inside
2) [Drill Sergeant]
3) Psycho
4) Mercy
5) Reapers
6) The Handler
7) [JFK]
8) Defector
9) Revolt
10) Aftermath
11) The Globalist
12) Drones

“The drone thing – I was reading a lot about drones and what they’re all about,” Matt said recently. “To me, they’re like a modern metaphor for what it is to lose empathy and to start to not really care much about what’s going on around you and what’s going on around the world, you know? And I think that through modern technology, and obviously through drone warfare in particular, it is possible to actually do quite horrific things by remote-control at a great distance without actually feeling any of the consequences or even feeling responsible in some way, you know? And the next step in drones is gonna be autonomous drones which actually make kill decisions themselves, there’ll be no humans involved, you know? So I think we’re right on that edge right now where we’re kind of… taking the step into losing empathy, and I think the album is basically exploring that journey.”

drones cover matt bellamy

Back in February and early March, the forthcoming release of the track, ‘Psycho’ was being plugged by Bellamy on ‘Twitter’ along with some added – and intriguing – web-links, perhaps providing us with clues as to some of the inspiration behind the ‘Drones’ album. The first ‘Tweet’ takes us to the site, ‘HowStuffWorks.com’ and a lengthy article on brainwashing techniques through history – albeit a mainstream-media version. However, it does briefly note the CIA’s MK ULTRA drug experiments during the 1950s stating that “drug experimentation by the CIA was officially cancelled by Congress in the 1970s, although some claim it still happens under the radar.”

muse patty hearst

CLICK TO ENLARGE…

You can read the article here:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/brainwashing1.htm

The woman in the Twitter picture – in case you don’t know – is Patty Hearst, American heiress of the Hearst publishing family. From the above article:

Hearst became famous in the early 1970s after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (the ‘SLA,’ which some deem a “political cult”) and ended up joining the group. Hearst reports that she was locked in a dark closet for several days after her kidnapping and was kept hungry, tired, brutalised and afraid of her life while SLA members bombarded her with their anti-capitalist political ideology. Within two months of her kidnapping, Patty had changed her name, issued a statement in which she referred to her family as the “pig-Hearsts” and appeared on a security-tape robbing a bank with her kidnappers.

Patty Hearst stood trial for bank-robbery in 1976… The Defence claimed that Hearst was brainwashed by the SLA and would not have committed the crime otherwise. In her mental state, she could not tell right from wrong. Hearst was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison. She only served two — in 1979, President Carter commuted her sentence.

Bellamy Tweeted this on the same day:

muse psychopaths2

The Tweet’s web-link goes to the site, ’GlobalResearch.ca’ and a 2014 article titled, ’Masters of Manipulation: Psychopaths Rule the World.’ Although its sub-heading informs us that it’s “a case-study” of President Obama and former military and CIA chief, David Petraeus, its scope is wide-ranging. It begins:

Psychopaths dominate the halls of power in both the United States and throughout the world. The current economic, political, military and legal system breeds psychopaths, rewarding psychopathic behaviour and punishing those with conscience and integrity. Psychopaths will naturally be drawn to and converge at the apex of the power-pyramid as much from their own drive for ambitious power as the hierarchical system that both requires and reinforces those who can comfortably operate without conscience, guilt or any genuine level of empathy toward others.

Read it all here:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/masters-of-manipulation-psychopaths-rule-the-world/5383706

On March 2nd, Bellamy Tweeted yet another link to another article about psychopaths in power. It’s from The Huffington Post and titled, ‘Are Politicians Psychopaths?’ The author of the piece, David Freeman, who’s Senior Science Editor at the website, thinks the answer to that question is, ‘yes,’ it seems. For advice on the subject, he “reached out to Dr. Martha Stout,” he states. She’s “a clinical psychologist who was long affiliated with Harvard Medical School,” and “the author of ‘The Sociopath Next Door’ and other popular books on emotional disorders.” Apparently, she’s warm to the idea of political candidates being asked to prove their psychological fitness before their names go on the ballot, along with releasing their tax-returns and medical records. Freeman states, “though psychopaths can apparently fool even skilled psychiatrists… Dr. Stout maintains that standardised psychological tests… might be able to help to tip voters off to candidates who exhibit worrisome personality-traits.”

muse psychopaths

CLICK TO ENLARGE…

The link to the above article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-freeman/are-politicians-psychopaths_b_1818648.html

It’s still too early in the day, perhaps, to draw conclusions on what’s in store in terms of an overall musical message with the soon-to-be-released Muse album, but, what with titles such as ‘Drones,’ ‘The Globalist,’ ‘[JFK]’ – and all these references to ‘brainwashing’ – it’s looking exceedingly likely that this is going to be – in one way or another – something of a noticeable shift away from the more conventional themes and issues covered on ‘The 2nd Law’ and back towards an area of subject-matter that helped win the band the support of the so-called ’Alternative community’ back in the day, before their reputation was placed under scrutiny by Bellamy’s 9/11 comments, leading to accusations that he and the group had perhaps been ’got at’ by their music-industry masters, or were shills, traitors, or sell-outs ( – in the view of ’Conspiro Media,’ the jury is still out on this one).

Briefly now, a nod to Metalcore group, While She Sleeps, winner of the ‘Kerrang!’ magazine ’Best British Newcomer’ award in 2012. The five-piece’s second album, ‘Brainwashed,’ was released in March. Sean Long, one of the guitarists in the band, said recently, while-she-sleeps“there’s been a real shift lately across the globe where people just want to find their own path through life. It’s really inspiring. People are so used to hearing and doing certain things that they think that it’s the truth and the right thing to do. They think that the Powers That Be have their best interests at heart, when it’s really the exact opposite. The Powers That Be don’t have any consideration for the future of the masses, and by extension, the masses learn not to have any consideration for their fellow man. ‘Brainwashed’ is about stepping back and seeing the world for how it really is, rather than how you’re told it is and conditioned to believe. People watch an ad on TV, and then the next thing they know, they’re in the store buying the stupid thing and they don’t need it. If I could sum-up the message of ‘Brainwashed,’ it’s that people should listen to themselves, and not allow themselves to be controlled by the media and the corporations.” Here’s the title-track:

‘Brainwashed’ (lyrics)
This is the resistance movement
A new life for the executed
The blackusted soul recruitment, brainwashed
Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off

We’re spilling our guts, we’re spitting out blood
Who’s first in the river?
Stop struggling, struggling
You’ll only sink further in
They’re throwing you in a lifeline, down to hell

They’ll sing mislead, mislead, drain us of our
Differences keep the freedom of life
Under the gun they’ll take our rights
We’ll take them back again

This is a death race, just another world trait of a broken system
It’s like the blind lead the bund to the wrong decisions
Possessed by the pace of life, we’ll burn a living
They’re running out of plots to burn
The casualties, out of sight, out of mind

Mislead, mislead, drain us of our differences
Keep the freedom of life under the gun
They’ll take our rights, we’ll take them back again

We won’t fail, we’ll find a way
We won’t fail, we’ll fucking find a way

Tell us how to think, tell us what we need
Tell us how to live, show us who to be
Another product of the system
Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off
We’re being brainwashed

———————————

Another track from the album worth inspecting, perhaps, is…

‘New World Torture’ (lyrics)
We are the underground
They know nothing of our sound.
We are the underground
They know nothing of our sound.
This one’s for the pigs at the top
You know nothing of us
You know nothing of us
We’re in the gutter singing
We wont give up
With our fingers crossed
Baptised in blood.
Sick of watching with our mouths sewn shut.
Raise the flag, sound alarms.
Look at the state of me, you, us.
(BRAINWASHED)
Are you skeptic?
Born and bred, negative?
Are you dead set suffering?
Giving up?
Are you spoon fed?
Coughing up the ignorance?
Are you brain dead?
Loathing, pulling at teeth?
Kill or cure.
This is new world torture.
Kill or cure.
This is new world torture.
If we have to kill the living to live
Prescribe plague and clean our slates with disease
(We wont follow)
They’ll lead us straight to the grave.
(There’s no sorrow)
Convinced the answer’s in the dust and debris.
This is new world torture.
We’re fighting fighting with fighting
Our unity is divided.
This is the system declining on us.
Put a nail in my coffin and light it up.
Our condition is critical.

We’re fighting fighting with fighting
Our unity is divided.
This is the system declining on us.
Put a nail in my coffin and light it up.
Our condition is critical.

If we have to kill the living to live
Prescribe plague and clean our slates with disease
(We wont follow)
They’ll lead us straight to the grave.
(There’s no sorrow)
Convinced the answer’s in the dust and debris.

If we have to kill the living to live
Prescribe plague and clean our slates with disease
(We wont follow)
They’ll lead us straight to the grave.
(There’s no sorrow)
Convinced the answer’s in the dust and debris.
Seamless as it was,
Before the winter came.
The trenches will shelter our young.
While we ration, others save.
We came paired for the worst
Frantic, out of luck.
Chosen by our tragedies,
To make the best of us.
To make the best of us.

——————————

More about the ‘Brainwashed’ album (and other While She Sleeps releases) here, at the band’s website:

http://wssofficial.com/pages/music

Well, that’s it for now. There’ll be another review at some stage later this year – although when that’ll happen exactly is solely reliant on when there’ll be enough releases available to warrant it. And please… if you yourself are a musician, singer, rapper or DJ/producer involved in creating meaningful, enlightening sounds, and who’d like to share your soon-to-be-unleashed material with ‘Conspiro Media,’ don’t hesitate to get in touch either by adding your details here via the ’leave a reply’ link at the bottom of this post, or by e-mail, to me – Matt Sergiou – at: conspiromail@gmail.com

——————————————————————————————————————- REFERENCE LINKS:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sophie-eggleton/enter-shikari-on-russell-brand_b_6448034.html

http://www.kerrang.com/26945/enter-shikari-discuss-mindsweep-upcoming-tour/

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/12/nhs-agrees-largest-ever-privatisation-deal-to-tackle-backlog http://rt.com/uk/240029-nhs-privatisation-agreement-largest/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-sell-out-tories-sign-largest-5323402

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-privatisation-winners-revealed-11-5323549

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-31928130

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-32147907

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-29691988

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/mildenhall_pay_cuts_blamed_for_care_home_problems_1_3814137

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/mildenhall_lodge_still_waiting_to_get_the_go_ahead_to_admit_new_council_residents_1_3907312

http://www.bridgwatermercury.co.uk/resources/files/33048

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Our-NHS-Public/172710059485626

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mindsweep

http://www.kerrang.com/29713/enter-shikari-unveil-anaesthetist-remix/

http://lyrics.wikia.com/Enter_Shikari:Anaesthetist

http://hiphopwired.com/2015/03/12/lupe-fiasco-drops-unreleased-track-atomic-misphilosophy-listen/

http://pigeonsandplanes.com/2015/03/lupe-fiasco-atomic-misphilosophy/

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lupefiasco/atomicmisphilosophy.html

http://www.eskmo.com/about/

http://www.lacanvas.com/spiritual-excursion-eskmo-sound-space-healing/

http://www.dazeddigital.com/music/article/23779/1/hear-eskmos-cinematic-album-about-the-sun

http://www.avclub.com/article/brendan-angelides-of-eskmo-51937

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kendrick_Lamar

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kendricklamar/wesleystheory.html

http://www.vibe.com/2015/04/kendrick-lamar-mtv-interview/

http://columbiajournalist.org/kendrick-lamars-to-pimp-a-butterfly-details-pain-and-passion/

http://www.unewsonline.com/2015/03/20/kendrick-lamar-returns-with-to-pimp-a-butterfly/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/arts/music/kendrick-lamar-on-his-new-album-and-the-weight-of-clarity.html?_r=1

http://genius.it/www.billboard.com/articles/news/6436268/kendrick-lamar-billboard-cover-story-on-new-album-iggy-azalea-police-violence-the-rapture

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kendricklamar/thesewalls.html

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kendricklamar/forsaleinterlude.html

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kendricklamar/alright.html

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kendricklamar/hoodpolitics.html

http://revolt.tv/video/kendrick-lamar-says-i-single-is-about-self-love/DB4D92A3-0363-47AD-8B10-6FA91CF1ADBE

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Pimp_a_Butterfly http://hypetrak.com/2015/03/listen-to-the-tupac-interview-featured-on-kendrick-lamars-to-pimp-a-butterfly/

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2015/03/mats-nileskar-tupac-interview-kendrick-lamar/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkedvCA8330&t=10m0s http://www.gq.com/moty/2013/kendrick-lamar-men-of-the-year-rapper?currentPage=2

http://muse.mu/news,drones_1633.

htm?f=home

http://muse.mu/music-video/music/74.htm http://muse.mu/music-video/music/72.htm

http://muse.mu/news.htm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4NJafuctHM

‘Q’ Magazine. May 2015 issue – pg: 10

https://soundcloud.com/triple_j/matt-bellamy-muse-dead-inside-is-about-losing-the-idea-of-love https://twitter.com/MattBellamy/status/571814756853551104

http://vigilantcitizen.com/latestnews/muses-matt-bellamy-says-he-no-longer-thinks-911-was-an-inside-job/ http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=237978

http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/the-kerrang-awards-2012-all-the-winners/049129

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/While_She_Sleeps http://heavymag.com.au/while-she-sleeps-we-dont-want-to-all-die-at-thirty-and-its-way-too-easy-to-do/

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/whileshesleeps/brainwashed.html

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/whileshesleeps/newworldtorture.html

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3 thoughts on “‘Conspiro Media’ reviews some of the more meaningful and conscious-minded music-releases from last month in a new, regular feature…

  1. Ha, Ha.
    Hi Wilson.
    Well, I suppose it’s all down to personal taste.
    As a disclaimer, I should point out that this article is not strictly a review of ‘music’ per se, and whether it’s good or bad, but more of a spotlight shiner on some of the new material out there that’s putting across some kind of message or ‘vibe’ that’s a little more meaningful than the pap and crap of the mainstream stars and starlets.
    Anyway… I hope you’ll like some of the material I’ve got lined up for the next review!

    Regards,

    Matt.

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