3 out of 5
Label: Un je ne sais quoi
Produced by: ‘Maître’ Brice Kartmann (mastered by)
Oh… oh, okay, when I translate this, it’s ‘Sausage Cocktail.’ I mean, I read the English press release, which was happy to report this hip-hop duo as dumb, and the front cover has the two sporting balaclavas and frilly neck pieces while striking “tough” poses atop a dirty kitch-ensque linoleum floor, so, sure, not too surprised by that translation, but makes me hesitant to see what they’re rapping about.
But simply based on sonics, Musique Savante is solid. “MC Sausage” and “MC Cocktail” lay down a lot of fun grooves that have an old-school boom-bap backing, but are given – if you forgive my stereotyping – a French flavor via a constant tootle of horns. The beats have a nice organic sound as well, and though I’d suspect part of the joke is the use of a lot of noxious hip-hop sound effects (shotgun clacks; horns blaring), there’s an additional sprinkle of flourish throughout of crackle and digital bleeps that’re not that, and that makes the production notable, all yuks aside.
And again, setting aside what may be being said – although I think the various interlude sketches are talking about a video game? – the presentation itself works, as the two MCs have different flows (one more poetic, the other staccato), and there’s a constant rotation of guest artists so that the patter is constantly changing. However, after the first few tracks, the music’s pace never necessarily steps outside of a set cadence, and the addition of several interludes – whether or not these might be more amusing if I understood them, I’m never a big fan of these on hip-hop albums – just serve to slow things down on top of the aural repetition; the album definitely feels a bit over-long.
Still, late in the game, things do pick up with some fast spitting on Ouilil Oulala, and final track The Truth has a more serious vibe – which I did choose to translate, and just looks like a boast track, but nonetheless, a good closer.
The opening few tracks on Musique Savante present a compelling mix of classic hip-hop beats and slighty jazzy swagger to instantly get your head bobbing; this mash-up tends to be repeated throughout, but the group’s energy never dips – you may not be paying as much attention, but your head still bobs.