“In the past, I’ve done more ‘traditional’ hip-hop music,” Abs explains, on a Thursday night in Kensington Market. “I was starting to feel like I was competing with the heavy funk and boom-bap beats and I wanted something more mellow and chill.”
The result is an almost folk-y take on hip-hop that places an artist that some of us thought we knew really well (witty, energetic, with a ridiculous flow) into a whole new light (still witty but brooding; now we see a darkness). Sitting Music is one of the most sparsely confessional and raw records of the year.
In a sense, it’s an LP responding to Abdominal’s personal artistic needs and realizations. He says he knows he’s no spring chicken and, at this point, feels odd talking about deep, emotional ideas and issues within the bombastic medium of hip-hop. So, he’s flipped the script and made Sitting Music.
To bring his vision to life, Abdominal put together a backup band called the Obliques, which consists of percussionist Colin Kingsmore and guitarist Andrew Frost. It’s a nice, laid-back but still percussive outlet to get his new songs — one of which, “Balance Both,” features Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 — across.
“We’re calling it ‘blues-hop,’ for lack of a better term,” Abs says, his eyes smiling at the hokiness he’s embracing. “I’m doing more singing and the content or subject matter is more on the blues-y side of things.”
On Thursday, Oct. 11, Abdominal and the Obliques and special guests Elizabeth Shepherd and Scott Kemp bringSitting Music to life at Toronto’s Supermarket. The release party will likely also feature an appearance by Abdominal’s mom, who raps on the LP track “Courage.”
“She’s done poetry for as long as I can remember so it didn’t feel like a huge stretch to have her take that and put it to a beat,” Abdominal explains. “So she’s gonna bust out some raps. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Sitting Music is available now, via Pinwheel Music.
Watch this entire interview with Abdominal now: