milo – cavalcade

962b1c569e9c82285c7ec70c010a8dc2-700x700x1milo’s third mixtape in seven months may come across as a bit overzealous to some, but those people are probably missing the point of his work.  the music milo creates is an examination of his own conscience, beliefs, and life experiences, much like the philosophical principles that creep up in his lyrics.  if anyone is poised to take command of intellectual hip-hop, it’s milo; over the span of a half-dozen mixtapes, milo has honed his craft from promising yet slightly one-dimensional spoken-word musings to a sheer force to be reckoned with on cavalcade.  it’s his best work yet.

whereas things that happen at day and things that happen at night largely relied on a singular aesthetic, cavalcade is more of a chameleon, flexing milo’s confident, aggressive, pensive, and emotional sides impressively in less than forty minutes.  he’s still thinking about his friend rob and talking about causality and calculus, but new topics come up.  even when he’s gloating about his elevated status within the rap community, milo does it in a very characteristic way; not many other artists would admit that they cashed in their royalties for some thomas pynchon audiobooks.  the strong personal thread that connects cavalcade is milo’s grandfather, who was ill at the record’s inception.  this record is for him.  while he may not be explicitly addressed in every song, a sample from a tune by america (his favorite band) does appear on each track without fail.

that segues nicely into the next topic of conversation concerning cavalcade, which is its production.  after collaborating with him on things that happen at day, milo again enlisted the help of riley lake, whose signature subtleties are sprinkled across the mixtape.  there’s the pitch-altered duplications of milo’s voice that create an eerie supplement to the song’s main content on “geometry and theology” and “sophistry and illusion,” and audio interview samples that pop up frequently throughout the seven tracks.  even more important is riley lake’s command of the america samples that he worked with; time and time again, he appropriates a dated folk melody successfully into a hip-hop setting, often assisted by something more modern like james blake or dirty projectors.

the cherry on top of cavalcade is milo’s sheer embracement of the quirks that defined his earlier work and inevitably drew criticism.  non sequiturs run rampant and spoken word is prevalent, but these aspects that once seemed like crutches are now clearly a facet of milo’s musical personality.  any subsequent records without those would just feel empty.

cavalcade is a damn good slice of hip-hop pie; it’s easily the best i’ve heard this year so far, and it’ll be one of the better free downloads of the year for sure.  stream it in its entirety via the bandcamp embed above and grab a download, and then check the brief video below that to see if milo, riley lake and company will be stopping in a city near you on their u.s. tour next month.