Parallel Thought are not new to the world of beats and rhymes. Far from it. With an impressive roster of past collaborators including DOOM, Jean Grae, C-Rayz-Walz, Slug–plus a whole freakin’ album with Del the Funky Homosapien–it’s easy to wonder what P=Thought could possibly have left to do. No matter.
On The Art of Sound the trio, which consists of production duo Drum and Knowledge, as well as producer/emcee Caness, create a world of organic-meets-mechanic soundscapes that aim at showing their expertise behind the boards. Indeed, the drums are heavy, the basslines are fat, and everything that floats above the rhythm sections sounds exactly as it’s supposed to.
The album opens with the posse cut “Right Now,” featuring verses from Caness, Be, & Frantic RP. This is an interesting choice for a project that isn’t notably feature-heavy (or rhyme-heavy, for that matter), but it works, acting as an opening ceremony of sorts. “Ice Cold,” which sees the return of Breeze from Juggaknots, is that breezy (go figure), drivin’ slow type of song that begs the question: why haven’t these dudes linked for a whole album yet? Gene the Southern Child, who is no stranger to the Parallel Thought camp, appears on “Made to Get Paid,” evoking a Southern rap fantasy that could easily fall under the ‘cloud rap’ umbrella.
The album has its lacklustre moments as well; “Swamper” is mostly subtle vartiations on a dreary 3-second loop that could be the menacing background music of a first person shooter game. “Purple Onion” is another jam that sounds like standard beat tape fare, and could definitely use some vocals to spice things up.
The Art of Sound is an enjoyable listen, but the bulk of the record is overshadowed by its few shining, perfect moments that leave the listener asking, “Why can’t I have more of that?”