By name and by nature, Edward Scissortongue has definitively cut himself out as one of the most prominent MCs going in UK hip hop’s ever-expanding scene. Recognised through Contact Play fame, as well as for his extravagant wordplay and mystical riddles, Scissortongue comes correct once again with his new works, The Theremin EP. Thoroughly strapped throughout with aberrant themes and profound anecdotes, Hawkins has made absolutely sure to leave heads spinning upon the first, third and tenth listen of his cryptic narrations.
With production contributions from the likes of LDZ & Piff Gang‘s Sumgii, fellow Contact Play and High Focus head Dirty Dike, and Lamplighter who produced Scissor’s début LP entirely; even on paper you are assured that the beats are firmly on lockdown.
Long-awaited for since the tremendous Better.Luck.Next.Life album, this new extended player and his sophomore HF release sees Ed plunging even further into the far reaches of his own contorted cognitions, forever to remain undecoded. It can be trusted that the dust will not be settling on this release for a long while to come yet.
A sombre and cloudy High Focus re-introduction for Edward Scissortongue is set in motion by South London’s Miles Courtney, who has built a gradual and ariose composition… soothing, easing, calm. The calm before the storm, that is.
Take Readings descends into a heavy duty drum sequence, coupled with deranged soundscaping and Scissor’s opening statement, “Take all your teeth out your mouth and replace with veneers”. Bewildering from the beginning, Hawkins’ obscure and intricate poetry is sown acutely to the ominous strings and keys laid down by Eon Ra. The hook is peculiarly catchy, as Scissortongue seems to have mastered mustering up austere choruses which are positively memorable.
The Wipeout Soundtrack (feat. Toyface)
Glasweigian producer Lamplighter returns to the fore with his cultivated take on hip hop, and continues with the attentive theme of the EP on an expected enigmatic tip. As if his lyricism isn’t enough to take in, Scissortongue fully turns on the style by going in double-time for the first two verses, leaving the aural chambers completely perplexed. Toyface‘s uniquely eerie vocals enable a consoling break for the listener, before Hawkins resumes his veracious prophecies at full speed.
What really is remarkable is the way that Hawkins is able to squeeze every single syllable precisely within such unorthodox instrumentals, without letting up. There are way too many crazed quotables from every single stanza, as God/Lamplighter’s discordant soundtrack slowly attentuates in conjunction with that haunting lullaby.
Title track, Theremin, has been eagerly anticipated since DJ Sammy B-Side’s Wordplay Sessions Volume 2 mixtape. It is now here in full, with re-recorded vocals over Dike‘s grievous violin-based beat. Opening lyric, “Deep in a mystic pit, deeper than I’ve ever been” accurately illustrates Ed Scissortongue’s intention for this EP, as he ensues to depict his cataclysmic revelations.
Once again the chorus, no matter how disturbingly tragic is also utterly catchy, whilst Hawkins’ verses are more like chronicles. Every word is eloquently chosen to weave graphic images in the informant’s mind, but the question is; if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pictures are worth an Ed Scissortongue verse? This man like machine literally has wordplay for days.
Theremin Pt. II (feat. J.Schaff)
Continuing on in the forboding manner of the original, the production duties of the flipside in the Theremin series is taken on by Sumgii, who too uses violin samples to chilling effect with his exemplary trap style instrumentation. The madness emanates again with Scissor’s cut-throat storytelling technique and moving metaphors, describing doom and disaster in the downfall of the planet. As an outro to this fathomless fable, the track’s instrumental is then used amongst a muddled transmission from the very man whose legend was told by Scissortongue previously.
The contemplative rhythm of ‘The Calculator’ is an absorbing beat conducted by Konchis, with dropping coin samples, similarly to Jehst’s ‘Sounds Like Money‘. Taking on more of a solemn tone, in tune with the instrumental, Scissortongue disects his own mind to disclose an extraordinary use of prose to describe prioritising number-crunching over human life. The bass synth work warps upon a dazy backdrop of melodies whilst Ed reaps in your thoughts, enabling you to lose yourself in his convoluted self-conversations. “Ask a stupid question and get a stupid answer” is how Scissortongue closes this chapter, which is quite suitable considering this very EP leaves many questions to be posed. Many to be never answered.
Lamplighter provides the finale to this meditative workout that is the Theremin EP, with a crooked beat syncopation. This leads straight back into track #1 again as it is strongly assumed that this aural adventure will be willingly repeated once more!
Album highlights: The Wipeout Soundtrack, Theremin
The Theremin EP is due to drop on Monday 28th April and is available to pre-order now through High Focus’ online store. There is the limited edition vinyl, including digital downloads of the EP as well as the instrumentals and photos from the project. CDs are also available for purchase from the High Focus shop, and digital downloads can be bought from all good online music retailers.
Scissortongue will be also throwing a launch party in London on Saturday 3rd May, joined by a strong gang of fellow musicians and performers including Jam Baxter (spoken word set), Mr Key & Greenwood Sharps and Lee Scott.
Taking place in the Westminster Reference Library (near Leicester Square), Ed will be performing the Theremin EP in full. Tickets can be bought on the door, but they are cheaper to purchase online here.
Originally written for UK Bass Music.