The re-emergence of Anti-Pop Consortium has been one of the undisputed triumphs of the CBRA (Continual Bands Reforming Age) as the stream of consciousness hip-hop merchants delve back into the world of collective creativity. Individually, there were signs of brilliance. Since their split in 2002, Beans has been perhaps the most successful, releasing four generally well-received efforts while High Priest and M. Sayyid as Airborn Audio plied their trade on Ninja Tune but didn’t follow-up debut Good Fortune on the label.
So their reformation, in August 2007 – five years after the barn-storming Arrhythmia – was welcomed by band’n’fans alike. Two years on and the first release from this second phase, new record Flourescent Black, shows excellent, witty signs of a return of a hip-hop act who can genuinely refer to themselves as ‘fresh’. Full of the quirky, intelligent discharge that made oft inaccessible beats irrelevant with a flow sharper than a nerd’s pencil always in charge of each tune.
In London, the New York foursome show their classic vigour. Facing inwards towards a desk, concentrating on their collective whole rather than individual style, predictably white crowd and APC-alike know this is about the music rather than the style. A year earlier at Sonar in Barcelona, ShadowPlay say this as a sign of an act still getting back on their feet, now it looks like pure, brilliant arrogance. Beans does turn ringmaster on a couple of occasions, the glib Apparently initiates the biggest roar of the night while Born Electric, also from the new record, sees them change pace and take a slower, more considered approach as they intone “can’t take my powers”.
There’s little doubt APC offer a refreshing antidote to the bling, overly smooth side of American hip-hop, what’s more impressive is that they do it while remaining out of the more nerdy fringes of it, maintaining their calm coolness and a rare hip-hop characteristic: integrity. Viva la reformation.