“Who can sleep at a time like this?”

I’m going to say “me” because the only prior knowledge I had of Bike For Three! was a reference in an Adam Bernard interview (thanks B). That’s unfortunate because anything involving award winning Canadian rapper Buck 65 is right in my wheelhouse, but it seems that shortly after publishing Adam’s piece with Ceschi I forgot about Bike For Three!’s existence. Maybe I’m so ignorant that they needed to title the album “Buck 65 presents So Much Forever, a Bike For Three! project.” Would that have helped? Who knows. I’m almost a decade later regardless and given how many albums I write about per year I have a feeling I would be no matter what.

Enough lamenting the first world problem of having too much entertainment to choose from. “So Much Forever” is the union of Belgian producer Greetings from Tuskan (born Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê) and the aforementioned Mr. 65 (real name Rich Terfry). This isn’t even their first project though — they previously released “More Heart Than Brains” on Anticon in 2009. Though the majority of the musical focus is on Buck 65’s lyricism, you can occasionally hear Lê adding (and chopping up) her vocals in the mix on songs like “Wolf Sister.” It lends a spooky ambience to the already eerie lyrics and audio where 65 hints at them facing a dire situation (at least metaphorically).

“We’re right, we’re fighting a sincere fight
Fear might just find us on a clear night
The mere sight could end up paying a severe price
So hold your breath, don’t let go, hang on for dear life”

In fact that’s their vibe in general on this album. Lê is not a boom bap producer or one who digs in the crates for scratchy soul samples. She’s into synth, drum machines, electronic noise and modifying vocals and instrumentals with echoing effects. You may roll your eyes knowing that songs like “The Last Romance” don’t boom or slap, but that doesn’t take anything away from their technical excellence. Both 65 and Lê feel the need to change up the tempo of the song halfway through and could seemingly do it a dozen times on a track without missing a beat if this song is one to judge them by.

The number of times the songs have been viewed (which does not of course substantively prove they were listened to – a “view” is only one hit on the video) is more than you’d expect for an album this experimental, and far less than you’d think for a Juno Award winning rapper, averaging between 500 and 1,000 as I write this review. Perhaps that’s to be expected given the lyrical density of songs like “Stay Close Until We Reach the End.” With a background melody suitable for a horror movie and lyrics that are about as far removed from the sex/money/drugs lifestyle as you can get, this was always destined to be an arthouse indie rap album in the best possible way.

“The boy’s on fire and the girl’s electric”

An important note for the readers — it appears there are two different versions of the album. The URL for “So Much Forever” hints at as much with a “2” at the end, and I’ve seen at least one track listing that ends with “The Muse Inside Me.” If they decided to go back and expand the project I’m glad that they did, knowing full well the diminishing returns of doing so, and thus proving if only to themselves how much joy they found in collaborating together. This is one of those times where I’m reluctantly forced to admit Bike For Three! is not for everyone. I have a hard time visualizing any place their music fits in — not at a coffeehouse, not in front of a sold out crowd, not booming out of your trunk’s speakers, not even background music at an experimental interactive exhibit. That’s why I like it though. It’s well written, well produced and doesn’t fit neatly anywhere. Bike For Three! made a bike lane for a sound that only they would travel.

Bike For Three! :: So Much Forever
8Overall Score