And let every herb bearing seed
Be known by its fruits
Plans, purposes and pursuits.’
These are the ominous first words, chanted again and again, that begin Black Saturn’s third, seriously intense, work of outsider hip-hop, Ned Jackson is My Little Brother. Juxtaposing these repeated outbursts of non-sequiturs, space imagery and complex lyricism with an extreme lo-fi aesthetic comprised of cheap industrial soundscapes, feedback and the repetition of heavily compressd and bitcrushed loops and samples, Black Saturn has stumbled upon a stark and distinctive sound and aesthetic. A sound that somehow manages to remain myopic in its unique strangeness and expansive in its concerns.
On these tracks Black Saturn abandons progression, choruses or structure for bludgeoning primitivist percussion, delicate, but explicitly amateurish, Casio melodies and chattering dubbed sound effects smeared across the beats. The detached, collage quality, restricted sonic palette and strange, alienating focus frames the foregrounded vocals as a series of bizarre and visceral overheard conversations. The tone and flow of the guttural drawl and melodious cadence that keeps this momentum, and which would not sound out of place on a traditional rap record, is so great that its missed on the instrumentals which litter the album. All these brief, wonderfully groove-less pieces drained of soul and libidinal energy begin to sound hollow without the measured delivery, where paranoid daydreams merge with bleak emotional pronouncements, that situates Black Saturn as a financial crisis Sun-Ra; folk wisdom eccentricities merged with interplanetary black consciousness and bleak recession-era urban reality.
Regardless of the strength of the vocals and their absences, this remains a completely individual, isolated and singular vision, full of obsessions and grainy digital production that elevates its limitations and rough mastering to a fascinating and disturbing futurism of computerised industrial music.