Bisco Smith a/k/a Bisc1 is a Boston native with Brooklyn residency, who did art direction for Def Jux, Ninja Tune and Eastern Conference Records. With his sophomore full-length album, The Broadcast, Bisco’s eclectic, introspective and complex lyrics interact and diversify with the eclectic production of J. Vegus. As was the case with 2007’s When Electric Night Falls, Bisco is an acquired taste. This is music that moves the mind to a point where the body may follow. The Broadcast transmits without static, and whether or not you adjust your dial, you can hear the quality in the music.
The album’s first single is, “Morning Breath.” The beat wakes you up with its slow deliberate funk. It’s a spacey track with digital effects, synthesizers and that constant element of organized noise. The first verse displays a vocal dexterity with a flow that is melodic to listen to. Bisco Smith’s metaphors and seemingly detached lyrics are like fine art, as each line seems designed to be appreciated individually as opposed to a collaborative statement. If you aren’t in the mood to listen clearly and decipher what’s being said, then the aesthetic of Bisc 1’s lyrics can easily get lost, because their abstract intertwining seems to be birthed only for the extreme intellectual. You can tell that he loves words, Hip Hop and its history. In the second verse he intends to help preserve the culture as he lyrically magnifies the names of some who came before him. DMC, Guru, Cypress Hill are just a few who will live forever and flourish from what they did in the past and have inspired others to continue to do in the future. The statement is, it’s a new day, but the raw power yesteryear’s culture continues.
“Railroads” carries a Rock sound, as the head-banging vibe in the production draws you in immediately from its guitar flavored first bar. The normally laid back Bisco has more pep in his lyrical step. He’s not over the top by any means, but he is amped appropriately for the equally intensified production. It’s trains, tracks, locomotives and railroads used metaphorically throughout the song – all wordplay about a graf writer-turned-emcee opening doors, laying down tracks, elevating his skills and conducting passengers to all get aboard.
Bisco’s flow and command thrives and flourishes on the track, “Time Zones.” It’s a perfect melding as this song features Human League-flavored vocals on top of a Hip Hop beat as the hook. “All day is when we try to get by / All day is when we try to survive.” It’s all about not getting lost in time and not letting time pass you by. This song as a whole is presented by a pensive emcee backed with scratching, cutting, hard snares and an invigorating beat. You can actually feel this song bounding triumphantly as it leaps out at you.
On the opposite end of that spectrum is, “Vibrations.” The Dub-tinged track does posesses a certain amount of creativity and flavor, but Bisco’s more than laid back, non-loud vocals on top of J. Vegus’ skilled, but non-layered production is devoid of enthusiastic energy. Had Bisco’s delivery been more exuberant and the production boomed and pounded with intensity out of my speakers, “Vibrations” could’ve been flawless.
My favorite offering is, “Transmission Live.” It’s a slow and sexy offering accompanied by hand claps and a sample that sounds like a female moan or a continuous sung note. With this song, Bisco’s flow is oozing confidence. “Fresh Water” on the production tip is a ghoulish horror movie married to a Punk / New Wave vibe. Top that off with an extremely unorthodox delivery, hook and topic. The end result is a fresh water flow safe for you to drink.
Bisco is dyslexic with his lyrics and J. Vegus is dyslexic with his music. Together, they tickle your mind and ear and make you listen closely. Tune in, turn it up and enjoy the broadcast of a true eclectic feeling brought to you by a Bisco and J.vegus collaboration.