Embodimensional-David Jackson “never minded brainstorms”. The spoken word artist-cum-author “always thought that the rain…brought blessings”.
At a time when we have been forced indoors, this offers a welcome celebration of solitude as a chance for introspection and creativity. This positivity can be offset by the brooding trip-hop that propels Fiadh (meaning wild) forward. Complemented by the hovering sound of a didgeridoo, the song is hypnotic and ritualistic.
This can be reflected in his decision to insert a speech from Mel Gibson’s 2006 Mayan flick, ‘Apocalypto’ in which one of the protagonists educates his son about fear. In addition to complying with themes explored throughout the record about how we live alongside each other and make the most of the world’s resources, it’s also cleverly homophonic.
Evoking images of stags, plant life and the “hollows and veins of the land”, Jackson associates the quality of being feral with understanding the inner workings of himself. Indeed on Stone Fashioned, Jackson claims, “my greatest teachers are the face of this earth’s features”. There are also references towards ancient Celtic folklore, namely, Fintan mac Bóchra and Fionn MacCumhaill.
As you would expect, ‘Stay Sentient Vol. 1’ is verbose and scattered with poetic techniques. Internal rhyming is omnipresent and he even flips Shakespeare’s famous couplet from ‘Macbeth’ on closer, The Covenant when he describes a serpent rising to become an orchid.
There are elements drawn from traditional hip-hop, however, not least during The Covenant which begins with boop-bap before admittedly receding to make way for the sinister and creaking mood mirrored in the rest of the album.
Meanwhile, on Fiadh, he takes inspiration from another auteur, Earl Sweatshirt (whose music has found itself to become murkier in recent times and whose father was also a spoken word poet). The cadence Jackson uses to pronounce “scenic route” is lifted straight from Sasquatch.
There’s also bass and braggadocio aplenty. Returning to Stone Fashioned (itself a reference to Ogham), Jackson proclaims: “Nowadays I feel less like a rapper, more like a telepathic Jedi time traveller, rap fluent. I’ve been through it and prospered. I’ve influenced when I spit fluid like a monster. Now I’m chanting mantras, balancing my chakras, channelling these bars from the centre of my conscience”.
‘Stay Sentient Vol. 1’ is a wonderfully avant-garde piece of work. Incorporating sounds of nature, the album is as sprawling as the land it pays homage to. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Jackson ponders AI and its symbiosis, even being so bold as to include a clip from Elon Musk’s Neuralink presentation.
Elsewhere, Jackson’s flow continues to vacillate between conversation and spoken word and even manages to slot in another piece from philosopher, John Moriarty’s ‘Seeking to Walk Beautifully on the Earth’ to magnificent effect.
Jackson is at his best when he’s his most emotive and unapologetically Corkonian. While this medium mightn’t always be the most tight and accessible, there’s plenty to feast on. As it stands, Body & Soul plans to go ahead. This would provide the perfect setting for Eurodimensional’s brand of hippie-hop.
Entirely self-produced and mastered, this is a sterling effort.