The man struggling under the unexpectedly strong gravity of Planet Spit is Kit Knows, formerly Kaynose, half of hip-hop group Two Left. He's arrived on the surface direct from Toronto thanks to the rocket fuel provided by fLako in his recent collection of 30 showcase beats - as previously reviewed by yours truly. He's slapped his raps and a little moon dust (edits, extra instrumentation, emotion) on 20 of fLako's 30 instrumental tracks, so now you can enjoy either the original's pristine trip-hop loops or the aggression/sincerity of an experienced rapper playing with what he must know to be uncommonly good raw material. The beauty of Creative Commons licensing is that it encourages just this type of adaptation.* Free music is fun, n'est-ce pas?
Most of these tracks don't outstay their welcome, the majority clocking in at under threee minutes' length. I'll plead laziness a thirst for brevity and give you a few vignettes rather than the Grove Dictionary-like analysis you're used to.
Knots improves on the original by slipping in an unutterably cool sax solo. In Colours Of Love, Kit jumps on what might be the catchiest riff that fLako has ever penned (and certainly the most de-tuned synth pad you'll hear today) and describes his girl troubles and triumphs. It works. Desert Ride, the second track on the album, reminds me why most rappers should avoid singing at all costs, but the opener, Welcome, demonstrates why Kit Knows' remixes are worth persevering with. His presence adds adrenalin to fLako's loops, and it's fascinating to hear how he slides into them seamlessly. (My choice of verbs in this review are giving me cause for concern.) The album itself has a close affinity with its predecessor, not least the fact that it's so difficult to hear the bleedin' music. Welcome is the only track that (sickly yet handsome in a windswept kind of way) reviewers can stick in their blogs. Still, it's a good 'un.
With Crying On The In, fLako produced a haunting piece of trip-hop, complete with an understated vocal hook, a spooky synth leitmotif (pretentiousness, thy name is CTW), and an unflappable acoustic bass line. Kit has the good sense to tread gingerly and manages to transform this snippet of cool into a lament for loved ones and a meditation on the meaning of life. More of his concern with weighty matters can be heard on the non-fLako last track, Space Rock, in which Kit reads from Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. I'm not sure if it (or the theory) works, but I respect a rapper who wants to get smarter or die tryin'. If you're in the mood for more of the genius with a finger-in-a-socket hairstyle, here's a lovely story about the great man. My thanks to the folkster's folkster, Robin Grey, for the tip.
The First Space Kit On The Moon is not an unadulterated success, and it might tempt listeners to prune the lengthy track list and produce a much better EP for their playlists, but it contains enough ingenuity and ambition to make me glad that Kit Knows made the effort. If you feel the same, please think about sending him a curt, manly nod of thanks via email.
*Having looked and looked, I can't find a CC licence on Kit's website, the album cover or the music files, but since Kwatro netlabel publicised it, I suppose everything is on the level. It's disappointing that Kit Knows has worked so hard to remix a CC album yet has failed to clarify his album's status, other than that it's "free". One good turn deserves another, but I'm sure Kit knows.
Yeah, baby. When it comes to drive-by punning, there ain't no other.
EDIT: Kit has ever so politely pointed out that there is no CC licence on fLako's album. In return, I have ever so politely pointed out that I am a complete and utter spanner who really should be barred from writing about music. I thoughtlessly assumed that Kwatro/fLako had released the original free album under a CC licence. I accept that this was a mistake on my part and I apologise unreservedly for the unwarranted criticism of Kit. My crunk juice cup has been packed up and shipped to a charity shop and all my bling is back at the pawnshop.
*returns to non-funky life, parts hair down the middle*
Kit Knows - The First Space Kit On The Moon (scroll down the release page for the zipped album)
Kit Knows on MySpace.