A volatile soul in the always bubbling English urban music, Iceboy Violet makes subversion a constant creativity exercise. As a teenager he had in J Dilla or Madlib cardinal points in a sonic incursion that soon took bastard dimensions. The encounters with the textural richness of noise and the raw fury of grime aligned the stars towards a rediscovery of himself – and what he could bring to this longed-for journey. He knew, above all, how to find a complex balance between this delivery of confrontation and electricity with a deeply confessional tone. For various reasons, he will not be a regular rapper; however, he spits us street poems of those who find in the margins and alleys some benign light amidst a thick fog of uncertainty.
When in 2018 he edits MOOK, much of that bewildering and fragmentary vision is materialized as it has been long unheard. A brilliant sonic and emotional cacophony – because one and the other are always here side by side – that screamed and sweated urgency. Stripped down, no doubt, but unabashedly demonstrating an equal level of fragility – human, afterall. The value of this personality did not go unnoticed and soon Violet was invited to participate in celebrated records by Loraine James, aya, Eartheater or Safety Trance. In each collaboration he demonstrated new and different expressions, as if in a reinvention or mutation in real time. And what better time than the present for such feats?
The Vanity Project condensed this web of thoughts and restlessness into a collective adventure between Violet and a community with whom she shares heart and conscience. A naturally ironic choice of title in which once again reverses the logic of immediacy. Slikback, Space Afrika, Blackhaine or Nick Leon are some of the troops called to this celebratory riot and collective hallucination. More than an album, a powerful statement of intentions. Against binary norms, the tricks of the record industry, or the traps that, in one way or another, today’s society puts around the neck of each one of us.
Concert premiere here, to enter 2023 with your head held high. NA