Audio Review: Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

Danny Brown

Atrocity Exhibition

[Warp]

 

“My fear is that in a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom,” JG Ballard wrote in Running Wild, released some 18 years after the collection of stories, The Atrocity Exhibition, from which Danny Brown’s new album samples its title. While Brown may have christened his fourth album after the Joy Division song of the same name (and amplified the tribute with an invocation of Ian Curtis: “this is the way, n***a, step inside”), Ballard’s source material is more instructive – Brown mines the extremities of human self-destruction on this album with more pornographic zeal than any artist in recent memory.

In this creepypasta zeitgeist, Brown’s carnival philosophy is far from marginal. Atrocity Exhibition is the diary of a circus turned grotesque, the Detroit rapper chewing off his jawbone during failed episodes of group sex set against a backdrop of cop murders and blood pouring like rain. Producer-in-chief Paul White’s avant-garde curation creates intimidating new aural arenas where most MCs would get mauled by the lions; in the album’s most dynamic moment, Brown manages to tame even Evian Christ-penned ripper Pneumonia. Mutant disco, noise and warped soul samples complement the album’s fun-house theme, but the most salient allusion worth noting is towards Stankonia’s Bombs Over Baghdad; in approach, Atrocity Exhibition is aligned with the fearless synthesis of Outkast’s high water mark. The sound of freedom, of sorts.

Like this? Try these:

Method Man – Tical

Future – DS2

Outkast – Stankonia

Words – Daniel Gray

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