By: Matt Innes
The long-awaited, full-length debut album from Aussie hip hop pioneers, Fonke Knomaads does little to disappoint.
Released in 2008, ‘Cleopatra’s Bath Milk’ represents the first work undertaken by duo, MC John TeOp Riley and John ‘DJ Soup’ Blake as Fonke Knomaads since they parted ways in the mid-90s. It is a record exuding all the best qualities of the pair: Riley’s poignant, homespun lyrics are underpinned by Soup’s mastery of beats and samples, resulting in an audio feast for the ears.
Opening track, ‘We Took A Trip’ builds a sparse soundscape with chirping insects and the crackle of a campfire as a wizened bushman recounts a strange desert tale. The short monologue segues into a laidback blues guitar sample which sets the tone for this guitar groove-driven record. Riley’s prowess on the mic is evident from the first line of ‘Chicken & Watermelon, dropping flowing, rhythmic lines with honed skill and precision. Things take a jazzy turn with ‘It Seems To Me’, while tracks such as ‘Lift Your Lid’ and ‘Souperhuman’ serve as sonic evidence of Riley and Soup’s unique interpersonal chemistry.
Behind the decks, Soup balances the duo’s vast musical influences between hip hop, rap, rock, soul, blues and jazz to create layered rhythms which demand you get up and dance. The record also features collaborations with Abz & Nick Knowledge (‘Cut To The Chase’) as well as The Posse on ‘How Did We Get Here’.
Overall, ‘Cleopatra’s Bath Milk’ is a party album with a distinct inner-city flavour. Whether gearing up for a night on the dance floor or just kicking back with mates for a weekend chill session, Fonke Knomaads have got you covered.