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RapReviews.com Album review: Battlestrux Year One

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

RapReviews.com Battlestrux Year One

as reviewed by Steve ‘Flash’ Juon

Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

“Not everyone wants to boldly go…”     – Dynamics Plus

Somewhere between the demented genius of Kool Keith and the lyrical dexterity of the Hieroglyphics lies the science fiction of Dynamics Plus. Put simply we’re talking about hip-hop meets space opera – it’s like throwing Doctor Who, Del the Funky Homosapien and Bob Dylan into a BlendTec and hitting the “musical puree” button. (Rap smoke – don’t breathe this!) This is not a new phenomenon for the RapReviews crew – Matt Jost first opened a portal into this strange galaxy back in 2005 when he covered “Doctor Atomics and the Fortress of Solitude.” This was apparently the sixth album continuing the saga of the voyages of Captain Dynamics, although like Leonard Parts I-V we have no idea where the rest went. Equally perplexing is what happened to volumes VII-XI of his adventures – perhaps like me some of you Whovians will assume the tapes got erased by the BBC in a shortsighted effort to recycle material and/or clear out some storage space.

In today’s chapter of the journey, our hero Captain Dynamics finds himself exploring the ass-end of a universe where starships are being destroyed at an accelerating rate. “You’re not going into the Triangle?” asks a feminine sounding robotic crewmate. “Not on the first date” quips Captain Dynamics. This double entendre exchange during “Captain on the Bridge” is fairly indicative of what we’re working with here. Dynamics stays “in character” throughout the album, while apparently breaking the fourth wall a la Deadpool to make mocking comments about the absurdity of it all. It’s in fact possible that Dynamics is actually playing ALL of the characters crewing his spaceship, a feat of madness equally worthy of Deadpool and perhaps Robin Williams too. Apparently the solution to the spaceship crisis Dynamics is investing is to “find the Omega Pegasus” – possibly a derelict spaceship – though I’m not honestly sure why. I have the feeling whatever’s on it is like the vaunted Omega 13 of Galaxy Quest – no one knows if it’s good for anything until forced to use it out of desperation.

I wish I could tell you this is a compelling journey “to infinity and beyond” but I’m afraid the adventures of Captain Dynamics aren’t quite that good. There’s no doubt he’s got a good flow when he gets around to using it on songs like “Lair of the Beast” when he’s battling an intergalactic Space Kraken, but even for a self-confessed hip-hop nerd what Captain Dynamics is working with is a little hard to get into. It’s not that I’ve missed 10 out of 12 chapters in this story – many was the time growing up when I dived into a fantasy or sci-fi book series halfway through and figured out what was going on without having read the rest (although once I could track them down I did). The problem here is that the story isn’t that good. I used the term “space opera” earlier, which some have used derogatively in the past to describe shows like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek. In truth though good science fiction entertainment needs soap opera elements – someone heroic to root for, some great evil to fight against, and often times a little romance so the male or female lead is more human and not as robotic as the enemies they fight.

Captain Dynamics lacks that humanity, and the fact his crew sound like voice modulated robots reflects this problem. This is one man’s hip-hop science fiction adventure, and although he clearly possesses the intellectual power and production technique to make it work in audio form, even hardcore hip-hop nerds will find it lacks something even medicore commercial rappers have – passion and soul. So much time is put into executing this drama correctly that so little of it actually has boom bap, witty rhymes or a hero whose adventures you’d actually care about. If you want to see fantasy and science fiction put together in a hip-hop context, you’d be far better served to check out the adventures of the insane Dr. Octagon or the drunken MF DOOM. Both have one thing in common with each other that they don’t with Captain Dynamics – they remembered to put the beats and the rhymes first and the comic book style structures second to support them. Captain Dynamics did it the other way around and it’s little wonder he ended up at the backward end of the universe trying to save spaceships instead of having grand space opera adventures worth hearing about.

Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3.5 of 10

Hear it for yourself ….

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X2T9I6?ie=UTF8&tag=theorihiphopl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003X2T9I6

Visit the Main Website for all things Dynamic Plus

http://www.thedynamicuniverse.com/

Album Review: Dynamics Plus Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

Album Review: Dynamics Plus – Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

As posted on Rights Are Imaginary dot com:

What’s the really good word, interwebbers?

Today is an Artist/Band album review of a group I already reviewed an album for, but this is their newest (from what I know; they have a massive amount of released music you can check out at their Official Lenzmen Website) album titled Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship.  A briefing about this group would be difficult to sum up in little words because they’re that nasty.  It’s actually completely confusing listening tracks from the Lenzmen due to the fact that there’s so much information to comprehend and compute in such a relatively short amount of time that the part, or the entire track, needs to be listened to another time.  I actually listened to Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship two times within two hours; it is that good.

Read more…

Dynamics Plus Interview on the I Can’t Call It site

Dynamics Plus Interview on the I Can’t Call It site

Dynamics Plus- Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

This was my first Q&A ever. Rarely do you do an interview with a person you greatly respect right out of the gate, but I had that honor in interviewing Dynamics Plus from the hip-hop group The Lenzmen. Considered the “Dr.Dre of underground hip-hop”, Dynamics Plus has released classic album after classic album and continues to put his stamp in history with each release. Here’s the Q&A:

You’ve done a lot of risky choices in your career in the eyes of hip-hop audiences and have succeeded each time. Why do you feel there are such limitations that even “experimental artists” will have on their music?

I think I’m only successful because I am driven by my own definition of success. I pride myself on being creative, different and highly lyrical. As long as people say that I hit the mark, I’m good on all other accounts. Obviously, I face all the same limitations of resources and exposure that all artists do. I take an extra hit for being so left field, but I’m not really an animal that enjoys running in a herd.

I try not to limit my musical directions by what I think will sell or sell well. I can’t use mainstream media outlets like the radio or video channels to help decide what I should do next. That will always keep me in the box of experimental risk-takers. I’m fine with that since I only need enough exposure and $ales to justify putting out another record. I will always make music, but packaging an entire project and pressing it up takes a level of focus and commitment that still has to make sense and cents at the end of the day.

“What was the process in creating this album like as opposed to your previous albums??”
Battlestrux: Captain of a Starship kind of grew out of nowhere. After Chaos Legion I and II, I felt like I had done enough stories for a while. I was ready to dive back into freestyle joints, but every so often I would finish another starship story and soon realized I had half an album done without really trying. So I decided to stay the course and finish off the album.

Fortress of Solitude was pieced together very deliberately. 3 story joints, 3 freestyles, 3 songs etc…I picked songs from my raw-catalogue and rendered them. That’s where the “Interactive Construction Module” idea came from. I built songs like I was a scientist carrying out sonic experiments. Chaos Legion was basically a huge story arc and I wrote and recorded the songs in order. I basically lived out that adventure inside my studio.

Starship was simply a matter of me saying “What happens next?” I wasn’t even sure what was going to happen at the end. The mission is to investigate some kind of anomaly that’s destroying ships in a gravity well. That’s it. I kept the plot real simple, but buried all the extra meanings so you can only get caught up in the layers if you choose to. Chaos required a keen level of perception to really get it all. So far, the feedback has been that Starship is much easier to follow and I think that’s because of the linear nature …in the order of the songs. There aren’t any diversions or side quests to get lost in.

Character Voicing has been a big deal on a bunch of my story albums. Starship had a lot of different characters coming in and out and there are whole sections left to the ad-libbing characters to fill in. This definitely added to the challenge of pulling off an album with a huge cast of supporting personalities. In Chaos, I used the story to flesh out the personalities. In Starship, it’s all down to the ad-libs and what they choose to say that gives you the idea of how these characters would interact in different scenarios.
“Thoughts on the digital game”

It’s a double-edged sword. It’s much more cost effective to release music as MP3s than any kind of physical media. But the hitch is that it’s also much easier to obtain your music illegally and share it without any consideration. I see tons of Lenzmen songs as free downloads all over the net. People are even uploading scans of the physical CD like “Here, print this and make your own CD cover”. The peeps behind it are trying to spread the word and share our stuff, so where do I draw the line? I only hope someone gets an experience and likes it so much, they decide to support us on a future project and buy the music. One can hope, can’t one?

The best part about digital distribution and sales is the tracking of sales through sites like iTunes and Amazon. I get to see exactly what songs are people’s favorites from any album. The songs that I consider the singles always do well, but every so often I get surprised by something I really made just for me being appreciated and selling as well.
Thoughts on the relevant artist/groups of the 90′s still being dominant forces in the game …Nas, Jay-Z, Wu Tang..?

I see the parallel in sports, mostly boxing. There isn’t a new crop of cats coming up with enough raw skill to push the veterans out the door. So it’s a situation where the old heads are schooling the new generation at every turn. If you build yourself on ‘hitz’ then it’s always possible to run out of big hit records and fade. The foundation for a long career is based on skill and the ability to adapt to the changing landscape. Skills diminish much more slowly and for many of veterans, the bar was so high, it’s going to take a long time to degrade down to the level where most of the newer cats are coming in at. And that’s only because the new generation of artists and athletes are built up by endorsements and hype as opposed to their raw talent and skill.
What is your favorite song on this new record??? Why??”
Um…that’s a tough one. Maybe “Space Kraken Awaken”. It’s a self-contained story that really sets up the rest of the album. I like the traditional arrangement with a hook and bridge- something I usually try to avoid with story joints. I feel like a traditional format reminds you it’s a song and not a narrative, but in this case it works.

Musically, it’s really out there and spacey without all the lazer zaps and filter sweeps. I feel the story captures some really special moments- like the engine room scene and the switch up to the bridge in the final moments. I feel like I’m right there when I hear this one. Yeah, it’s one of my favorites, for sure.
“What is your favorite Lenzmen album???”

One that hasn’t been made yet. We have so much more experimenting to do.

“What is the possibility right now of another Lenzmen album??””
Right now? All the Lenzmen are still active, so it’s really a matter of time. Pretty good -if we can figure out how to pull it together while we are all so far from each other.

“Where do you see the future for The Dynamics Plus Universe?? Upcoming projects???”

Centri has another full length album to follow up his Article 15 debut. Docktor Strange has his first solo album coming and Earthadox is building his studio and making music. So really, everyone has albums coming and I think after we get those out, it’ll be time to reconnect the continents. I’d like to finish off a bunch of planned releases. Doctor Atomics is certainly in my future and there are a good number of Story-based Universes that need to be fleshed out.

More albums, more music, more abstract sci-fi hip hop!

Hey, thanks for this interview Feenom.

For more Dynamics Plus and Lenzmen information, go to http://www.thedynamicuniverse.com/ and http://www.lenzmen.com/

You can read more from The I Can’t call It Blog…

http://icantcallit.wordpress.com/

Dynamics Plus new album- Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship

THE LENZMEN DYNAMICS PLUS
PRESENTS:

Battlestrux Year One
Captain of a Starship

Battlestrux Year One album cover

The Lenzmen Dynamics Plus and the Battlestrux comic series merge into Dynamic Universe Volume 12 Battlestrux Year One: Captain of a Starship. The full length album chronicles the earliest adventures of the Mantis One starship crew.

The Album synopsis:
It’s a mission to investigate the mysterious disappearances of ships near the edge of a Gravity Well. You will follow the first voyage of the newly appointed captain. It’s Time for Action as you man your battle-stations and make ready for sci-fi hip hop. When you put a masterful lyricist over out-of-this-world beats, you get Battlestrux Year One.

Video Trailer for album:

Read and hear more about this album and the lyrics at http://www.TheDynamicUniverse.com