Low-Hi Funk: Long Story Shore

The Subtly Complex and Tasty Streitzer

Paul Whyte

This new album from Low-Hi Funk is their third release so far this year. Low-Hi Funk is a project between Chad Brown (aka C-Silence) and Nick Pawlenty (aka MidiEvil). MidiEvil seems to come out with a release every few months, both with this project and also his work with the hip-hop/experimental project, Strictly Hammers. Both of these projects have included plenty of collaboration with other hip-hop artists and area bands. Considering how much music he is involved with, there is a good amount of attention paid to the production of the albums. In that aspect, he has set himself apart from many acts in the area.

The album begins with an introduction track, which is nothing unusual for the albums MidiEvil has worked on. A laid back and somewhat ambient instrumental jam underlies some scratching (not sure if it’s actual vinyl or a program, but they’re manipulated a bit). The introduction gives way from the tranquil sounds to C-Silence repeating, “yoga butts they drive me nuts,” if I’m not mistaken. It’s perhaps the least serious lyrics on the whole album. Lyrically, there are times where there is some repetition with certain choruses, but in the parts where the raps really start flowing, it’d take me quite awhile to decipher the verses verbatim. It’s not that I don’t pick up the gist, but some of it can get pretty fast with the rhymes. In other words, there’s plenty of talent going on as far a rapping is concerned.  

There are a lot of topics that are touched on in the album and in each song sometimes different aspects are brought out on the same subject. The track “Drugs” is a prime example of that. Each rapper brings in their own take of substances in their own take. Overall, the song does not really glorify drug use at all. The collaborations on this album are pretty amazing and really fill it out. The track brings in Kat, Crimson (of Strictly Hammers) and Willie Diction.

The album takes a little bit of a turn with the track “Frequencies.” It starts out with a clip from the experimental/existential film “Waking Life” that discusses the decline of people who dream (I’d suggest the film to anyone who hasn’t seen it). The album brings in aspects of indie rock of the band The People Say Fox along with hip-hop. Once the bass line kicks in along with C-Silence’s verse, the song takes on a solid approach. The production and arrangement works out well on this track.

The bands Lake Monster and Mikey Talented are also featured on the album. MidiEvil has worked with Mikey Talented before with the “Strictly Talented EP,” perhaps a lesser known release. The track “Expectations of Funk” brings in more of a live sound. It begins with recordings from a live show, which does arise a few times on this album. Overall, the production ties the rock band to the hip-hop fairly well.

This album brings in three things. The production rivals most anything MidiEvil has done in the past. For a DIY album, it doesn’t feel like it was put out in the time that it took to make. There is a lot going on and perhaps they could have spent another week or month to totally go over every last thing, but every album ever made could have probably been hashed over another few dozen times. It’s working for them especially considering that a lot of musicians will run a Kickstarter campaign for around $10,000 or more and release an album every two or three years. The lyrical content is often meaningful and brings in themes of life’s struggles with an underlying note of self betterment and caring, which isn’t uncommon for these artists. Of course the pursuit of hip-hop is in there too. Finally, the collaborations provide something a little different and keeps this album moving. Switching it up between guest rappers and blending bands in with what they do speaks for the local credibility of their music and also just makes things more interesting for the listener.

Low-Hi Funk will be having a release show for their album Friday, August 14 at the Red Herring Lounge with Jantzonia, Cold Sweat, Real Truth, Strictly Hammers and Dakotah “Faye” Poitra. DJ BranoLogic from the Crunchy Bunch will also be spinning between some acts. The album can be listened to on the act’s bandcamp site and physical copies will be coming out soon.