by Big Flowers
A breakdown of Wavy Bagels & s!lence’s Mutatis Mundatis
If you’re at all familiar with the recent explosion of super-rap emitting from the newest version of New York City, then it comes as no surprise to you that Mutatis Mundatis was one of the most anticipated hip-hop releases of the late fall. After s!lence and Phiik just released their collaboration with “That Was A Test” it would be understandable if the young emcee decided to take a little breath before his next release. That wouldn’t be very on-brand for s!lence however, giving anything but his namesake, bending, ducking and compressing each line to fit the maxima of what time is allowing. After mixing nearly the entire GRIP discography for the year (notably True Sky by AKAI SOLO), along with countless other projects (such as MITOSIS by BloodMoneyMimz), it would be more than understandable that Wavy Bagels (the producer for Mutatis Mundatis) would be inclined to take it easy for the end of an extremely busy year. That, however, wouldn’t be very on brand for one of the most prolific, productive, and humble engineers in the scene right now. What would be on brand is to subtly but surely drop a tape that deserves several spotlights just two weeks before year’s end.
Just like the torrent of lyrics emanating constantly from the catacombs of s!lence’s inner channelings, it’s easy to let something pass you by, but similar to the same lyrics, when you embrace the chaos and start passing with it, that experience will fundamentally change you. This is essentially the ethos of the album as well, in Latin, the phrase Mutatis Mundatis roughly translates as “to change what must be changed.” In a world and time where change is more than guaranteed, this is a thesis that becomes all the more imperative to probe. Throughout the album, there are several shifts present. From bar to bar, you can hear s!lence give clay-like form to his ego, memory, past and future, molding what he needs to get out of himself as both a lyricist and a human. You can see true moments of self-reflection sans-narcissism in Divine Comedy with lines like “sometimes I’m such an asshole,” where the sense of do-better-for-me is almost palpable. With tracks like 9LN and Mango Mochi, there’s a shift towards a more lax delivery style, especially juxtaposing the usual pacing coming from the emcee, another welcomed change, or mutation, to what these two are already known for bringing to the table. From beat to beat, there is a developing essence of change as well. There is constant undulation between red-blooded sun-kissed children of boom bap with tracks like Pistol Pete and the smudged, fractal deconstruction of new-school hip-hop that’s been morphing the meta of beatmaking over the years (Cloverfield Lost Footage). By the end of the album there is a sense of things altered. I’m not sure if it’s myself, if it’s something programmed within the music, but by the time I hit I Lied And Said I’m Fine, it feels like I’ve gone through some sort of metamorphosis. The sample washes over you with glissando ascensions akin to heavenly magnets. With distortion, ethereal bellows and a mission to maintain through it all, s!lence delivers his most sentimental, and iconic verse of the tape on this song as well. Though the rest of the tape is representative of change as well, this song stuck out as the most important to me for a few reasons. The first is just the sheer mastery of the production. It’s clean. Secondly, the flow and lyrics are as usual, phenomenal. What sets this track apart though is its placement within the tracklist and within the meta of the idea of change. Being one of the last tracks, it is well along the plotline of changing, yet this feels like a s!lence classic, one that could be recognizably him on any album. That, however, is the crux of change. How do you crucially change yourself while still maintaining who you were going into the process? It seems hypocritical and paradoxical but at the end of the day it is ideal. The best way to change ,it seems, is to incorporate better practice without critically changing the outline or trajectory of life. To be able to return to center after experiencing so much change, and to do so with swagger, is something to write about. This album is a testament to the never-static, tumultuous breadth of spectral change each of us can make, and it’s worth every second.
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