So this is what it’s like to wander through the ear of a secretive collective of conspiracy theorists. By the sound of their latest LP, 3:33 (Parallel Thought) decided to teleport somewhere without oxygen. At its best, In the Middle Of Infinity pumps like the score to NASA’s Curiosity Rover. It’s ethereal, provocative, while terrifyingly skeletal simultaneously – all things rolling through the cosmos is supposed to be.
There’s no telling if 3:33 had a particular style of emcee in mind when crafting this collection of instrumentals, despite having Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as the impetus. “ITMOI-4,” with its crashing symbols and hammering drums that seem to detonate on impact, rumbles lovely in a fashion only suitable for a Homeboy Sandman or a Roc Marciano or a Doom or any emcee comfortable kicking it off-kilter Vordul. Same can be said for “ITMOI-6” and “ITMOI-10.” Spacier offerings like “ITMOI-2” and “ITMOI-7” seem to minimize the drums or relegate them to shorter breaks within the track, accentuating the background zips and echos that have become 3:33’s trademark. There are few moments that incite a random off the top freestyle or an impromptu two-step; few moments of fodder for static Rap fans, yet still plenty of marvelous mood swings to tempt interest. “White Room” is not only an album’s length on its own (41 minutes-plus), but an expansive clinic in experimental Hip Hop instrumentation.
In The Middle Of Infinity oddly dances in a realm few producers dare to revel: So close to the edges of what conventionally screams Hip Hop that many heads might miss the spaceship. Any samples that 3:33 might’ve included are unrecognizable, for example. Any sliver of digestible brown-nosing were seemingly left on the cutting room floor, if they ever existed. Undoubtedly, it takes work to develop the talent required to create a sound bed as rapt with ingenuity as this project, but unfortunately it also takes work to repeatedly listen to it. By 106 minutes’ end, In The Middle Of Infinity is a brilliant one-time spin that has chronically light replay value. Sometimes that’s the risk of pushing too far past the margins.