“Another back is stabbed – back to back as in casual sex
Acting happy while ac-tually depressed
Paint that clown face on for the audience
Still sing along to songs about your illness
Realize I never gave a f**k about success
But this is the only job I can still get before I’m past-tense”
The first time I experienced Ceschi over a decade ago I described him as “clearly a complex individual who is tormented by the thoughts in his own head”. The above quote from the title track of “Sad, Fat Luck” shows me and tells YOU that little has changed in that regard. For that reason the very first thing I must do is compliment Ceschi for his consistency. He chose to live a life outside of the mainstream lane of hip-hop, making music the way Vincent Van Gogh made paintings — not for the acclaim and fame but because he was compelled to. He has an artistic vision he wants to express and will do so whether or not you come along for the ride. “I will crawl my way up from this hole/the act of patience can be painfully slow” croons Ceschi on “Daybreak”. Every word Ceschi says is carefully chosen for its impact.
I myself chose the word “croons” for a reason. Ceschi sings more than he raps, but just as in 2006 there’s an almost painful sincerity to his vocals. There is no AutoTune in Ceschi’s world. I have to believe that barring a cold or a sore throat the Ceschi you heard doing a live acoustic set would be the exact same Ceschi you hear on “Sad, Fat Luck” for 47 minutes. It’s both refreshing and slightly disconcerting just how authentically raw Ceschi is. It makes you realize how refined, processed and pureed so much of the music you listen to is. For better or worse Ceschi is organic from garden to table. The only time I caught the vegetables being chopped up is “Say No More”.
“Oh, Lord, teach me differences between right and wrong. Oh, Lord, teach me how you exist at all”. DAMN. As if that profound conversation between the devout believer who suddenly feels doubt and his unseen creator wasn’t intense enough, the music suddenly slows down and makes you feel as if you’re swimming in molasses. “How the hell am I 36 and so f***ing defiant?” As Ceschi asks the question on “Electrocardiographs” I have to ask how the hell I’m so much older than him and feel the exact same way. Ceschi refuses to put another brick in the wall, railing against everything from casual misogyny to xenophobia to his own failings as he declares “you’re supposed to pose as a poet not become another punch drunk punk”.
In my initial examination of Ceschi I thought that he might be too avant garde for a hip-hop audience more familiar with boom bap, G-Funk, and samples of R&B and jazz. It seems that Factor is his muse though and as a result whatever I didn’t get about him before makes a whole lot more sense to me now. From the skip-to-the-rap track “Middle Earth” featuring Sammus to the alt rock excess of “The Gospel” to the synths and sincerity of “Sans Soleil”, Factor always finds the right instruments for Ceschi to scratch that artistic itch.
Looking at the past history of our own website, it seems I am not alone in having been confused about what exactly Ceschi was aiming to create. It may be that he’s just grown that much as an artist over the last 10+ years, or it may be that suddenly Ceschi is the antidote I need to so much mundane music about drinking, spending money, taking pills and chasing thrills. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things. Many great rock, rap, R&B and reggae songs are ENTIRELY about those things. When I say “mundane” I’m referring specifically to artists who simply copy the sound and style of the last radio hit in the vain hope to create the next hit. The greatness of “Sad, Fat Luck” comes from the fact there ARE no hits here. That sounds terrible but I honestly mean it as a high compliment. There are no singles here. This album is an EXPERIENCE from start to finish.