I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but this release sounds like it would’ve fit perfectly on the WordSound label sometime in the late ’90s. I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how WordSound and the whole NYC illbient scene really doesn’t get enough credit in regard to today’s international bass music scene. There really isn’t any reason why someone like Spectre isn’t more widely praised as an innovator these days. His album 7 under the alias Slotek is a total unsung classic. The label also released little-known albums by The Bug and Mick Harris (as The Weakener), and of course most of Sensational’s output. Sure, not all of it holds up (this is the label responsible for MC Paul Barman’s first widely available EP, after all), but the best WordSound releases are still stunning works of dark futurism.
In that spirit, Black Saturn delivers 4 tracks of experimental dub hip-hop, featuring heavy dub rhythm loops, space-age poetry and extensive use of the word “Jah”. While he’s nowhere near as bizarre as Sensational, he still has an out-there flow, far less concerned with spitting rhymes over a beat and a lot closer to stoned-out beat poetry. The music generally seems to consist of one heavy dub loop, over which he recites his words and processes his voice with delay and echo effects. Closing track “Murder” is far less rhythmic, mainly consisting of some very grainy, lo-fi recordings of something (sticks hitting cans or fences, maybe?) sparsely played through a heavy echo chamber. At only 20 minutes, it’s a short and somewhat minimal release, but it’s enough to get me hooked. Worth zoning out to.