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4 things to know about X Marks the Swirl:
– written by Stuart Derdyn
- Community Building: Local “femcees” Missy D, JB the First Lady, Seattle emcee Khingz, songstress Jillthy, as well as groundbreaking First Nations rapper Ostwelve, all drop onto tracks on the album. There probably hasn’t been a local hip-hop album to showcase this many scene voices out in many years and, adding in working with the dance-fashion-art collective Immigrant Lessons, the record is a celebration of community.
- Ice Palaces: Building from a crystalline-guitar-loop beginning into a stripped-down ballad, this is one of many surprises on X marks the Swirl. It’s a pop number that could easily wind up on a playlist with other chart-topping R&B singers with its memorable hook chorus.
- Reverberating Production: While a lot of contemporary music is favouring tight, sketchy electronic buzzes and ticks, most of the 11 tunes on this album are more reverberant and open. With phones on, songs such as Escape and Portal are big-space songs. It’s easy on the ears and enables more focus on the lyrics, which, most certainly, is the primary focus of the material.
- Lyrical depth: A lot has gone into the content of the material, as one would expect. Songs such as Sad Femme Club confront harassment, sexism and racism front-and-centre — Dear Goddess give me patience/Tired of trying to explain/I’ve got zero tolerance when they f–k with my sacred space — while Questions is about the personal side of the political realm — Can you give me all the reasons why/Should we stay or should we fight?/Am I wrong or am I right/Should we stay or should we fly? With a smooth flow and some pure singing the material has clearly been developed with “best practices” of communicating in mind.