A couple of weeks ago, I was working on my 2010 Year In Review and I mentioned Baron Von Alias. His album with MistaBreeze, “The Great & The Magnificent” came in at number eight on my top ten list for 2010. If you’re curious about who else made the list, feel free to have a look at it here in your spare time. Now, back to this review. This time around, BVA has once again teamed up with his main man Arhat and the objectives this time are to paint inside our minds “like the Sistene [Chapel] ceiling,” have us acting in ways we never would believe in and to possess our minds until we feel our chests heaving. This is what Baron Von Alias refers to as an “Out-of-Body Experience,” the title of his latest release.
The “Experience” kicks off with “Someday Son” which focuses on the things we all do to pass and in most cases, waste time in life while we could be pursing dreams and all that good stuff. You know, the usual stuff…working, drinking, Facebook and the like. “Back To Front” features a head-nod inducing beat with drums, pipes, a few bells for flavor, among other instruments and some nimble linguistics from BVA. Another notable point on this track is that here we have the first of a few mentions of possibly retiring the top hat and mustache that he proudly rocks because no one seems to take him seriously when he’s “looking like a twat,” as he puts it. The title track certainly has a psychedelic feel to it, and I’m not sure if it’s the hypnotic guitar or the frantic drums that is the main culprit here. In any case, Baron Von Alias matches the beat with some rapid-fire lyrics of his own, making the cut one of the definite standouts. “Magic In The Air” is certainly on the more mellow side of things as we find BVA posing the question “Can you feel it now?” The “it” being something “more than love.” By comparison, “Fortress” is much darker both in its lyrical content and its production. Baron compares the home to a fortress and likens the ills of society to that of a modern day Holocaust. A bit striking in the imagery department, but it gets the point across. It rolls perfectly into “Living Hell” which has a bit of a horrorcore twist to it and could easily be interpreted as the other half of “Living Hell” which proceeds it.
From this point, many of the songs have long instrumental outros and they tend to be completely different from the rest of the song. I think they may have been better suited to have their own tracks, just in case a listener wanted to just make a playlist to vibe out to from time to time. Over what sounds like it could be a mandolin being plucked, BVA reminices over a long lost love on “Turn My Love Away.” One of the weirdest (but yet outstanding) tracks is built around samples of what sounds like Tash and RZA and a dial up Internet connection (I remember those days) on “Pennies, Pounds” as Baron Von raps about the money he may or may not have in his pockets at the moment. The first part of “Comic Book Capers” features both BVA and Arhat talking major shit before sliding aside and making room for one of the instrumental tracks I mentioned before. Things come to a close with “Remains Of A Broken Mind” and “The Clock Is Ticking.” In my opinion, the latter could stand to be a bit longer, but perhaps the crunch for time was the feel they wanted to have on the track. Things seem to build up as the track progresses before reaching their peak and subsequently starting all over again. I like the approach and it’s a pretty cool way to end things out. Almost as we’re abruptly awakened out of our dream state.
Even with the long coat, top hat, mustache and the monocle, I’d say that this is Baron Von Alias’ best release to date. This is my third go around with the self-proclaimed timelord and each time out he seems to bring the goods. There’s a bit of a nostalgic quality to many of the songs here, but at the same time they sound modern. I’m interested to see where BVA goes from here. I don’t expect him to donate the top hat to the Museum of Antiquities or the Great North Museum just yet, but the fact that he’s considered going forth without it shows growth. Then again, maybe that’s part of what the “Out-of-Body Experience” is all about…letting go.