Eugene Weekly : Music : 2.28.08

Predicting Doomsday
Sole keeps on prophesizing, but this time he’s not alone

Most of the artists on Oakland-based hip hop label anticon make unique, intellectual music that bears only a cursory relationship to hip hop as most people know it. But Sole, a co-founder of the label, is one anticon artist that still does the job of an emcee — even if his lyrics don’t always rhyme.

Those already familiar with anticon and Sole know better than to expect hyphy or anything even faintly resembling the upbeat, formulaic club hip hop that dominates the airwaves. Because while some of Sole’s songs are actually fairly danceable, Sole’s embittered prophesizing lends itself better to serious personal reflection … or shock and awe. And after years working alone and collaborating with other artists (including Odd Nosdam of cLOUDDEAD and Jel of Subtle), Sole moved in a new direction and teamed up with a live band.

Sole began working with the Skyrider Band not long after he met the original Skyrider, Bud Berning. Berning was working in Orlando, Fla., as a lone electronic artist and dub bassist when Sole was invited to stay at his house while touring. While there, Sole found himself enamored with Berning’s sound. On his next tour of the Southeast, he returned to Orlando to collaborate with Berning. It went so well that he invited Berning and new Skyrider recruits John Wagner and William Ryan Fritch to come to Sole’s home in Flagstaff, Ariz., and make an album. What was meant to be a pop album turned out to be a surreal, absorbing blend of strings-heavy psychedelia and brutal, political lyrics teeming with fury and despair.

Sole tours with Telephone Jim Jesus, another anticonian whose trippy, somewhat morbid electronica briefly nods at hip hop before venturing into eerie, ambient compositions without lyrics. His second album, Anywhere Out of the Everything, is a twist on a Baudelaire poem, “Anywhere Out of the World,” which describes the sensation of a heartsick individual who believes that relocating would revive his shattered soul. Turns out the album followed the dissolution of Telephone Jim Jesus’ eight-year relationship and European travels; hopefully Telephone Jim Jesus can follow up this album with music that doesn’t require similar life-altering events to inspire him.

Sole, Telephone Jim Jesus, DoublePlusGood. 9 pm Sunday, March 2. WOW Hall • $10 adv., $12 door