Baltimore hip-hop experimentalists Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals return with vital new album King Cobra, a mighty, omnivorous record that pushes the duo to unstoppable creative heights, and we are happy to present them for the first time in Berlin.
“…defies genre in the most spectacular way with an avant-gardist’s penchant for experimentation.” — Bleep
Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals’ inexhaustible creativity has already gifted us 2020’s Dear, Sudan – a kaleidoscopic, unpredictable joyride of late night channel-hopping – and 2021’s brutal post-George Floyd manifesto Rhino XXL, but King Cobra is a new experience still. It is a masterfully executed expression of both ferocity and joy. ”Not a checklist of all the ills in the world,” says the band, “but it feels like darkness”. An expansively ambitious record, full of fire, and a thrilling new step from artists on a crucial mission.
“Together, Infinity Knives and Brian Ennals might seem like the poster boys for alternative or experimental hip hop, but King Cobra proves that labels can be meaningless. The meditative opening and closing tracks, the quiet(er)… interspersed… tracks matched with Ennals’ poetic rage, and the layers of sound effects and visceral soundscapes in-between all point to an album that is colorful yet hard to pin down.” — The Quietus
The duo offering Ice Cube and KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions as influences reveals an admiration for time-revered classic hip-hop, but digging deeper uncovers references (both overt and subtle) to Pink Floyd, Stars Of The Lid, William Basinski, Sade, Outkast and Aretha Franklin among a vibrantly coloured palette. “Sonically it’s jagged, it’s incongruent, it’s supposed to make you feel a little uncomfortable,” the duo explained.
More than a pure hip-hop producer, Infinity Knives (aka NPR composer-in-residence Tariq Ravelomanana) demonstrates his oft-discussed love of contemporary classicists such as Max Richter and Jóhann Jóhannsson throughout. Hidden deftly amongst the hard-hitting beats and Ennals’ lyrical dexterity are moments of blissful orchestration that betray an abundance of musical talent and a precise control over the cleverly formed layers of melody and harmony.
Key track “Don’t Let The Smooth Taste Fool You” is in the rare and notoriously complex 10/4 time signature, but in Ravelomanana’s hands it prowls sleek and powerful as a lion. More than a pure hip-hop record, King Cobra provides a relentlessly inventive backdrop for Brian Ennals’ righteous poetry of vitriol, rage, philosophy, humour and myth-making. “This isn’t an album meant for you to smile to,” Ennals writes, “except when I say something funny.”
Infinity Knives & Brian Ennals Berlin Debut
Wednesday, 20.9.2023 | Doors 20:00 | Starts 21:00 CET
silent green | Gerichtstraße 35 in 13347 Berlin-Wedding