Diffusive - Spooks and Sagacity (Review & Interview) - Stereo Stickman

Diffusive Spooks and Sagacity (Review & Interview)

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New Pavement Records bring music fans this eclectic and unique new album from Diffusive entitled Spooks and Sagacity. From the offset you feel both the unusual nature of the soundscapes and the thoughtful depth of the lyricism. A Scientific Left makes for a bold and creatively memorable place to begin, a spacious and somewhat experimental, artistic ambiance backs up a mellow vocal delivery – one that pours a seemingly endless stream of ideas and poetic reflections, some politically motivated, into the journey.

Production-wise the vibe throughout the album is calm but slightly unsettling. There’s plenty of space, the details are all as unique as the overall sound, yet together they work toward this shared industrial aura that’s partly blissful, joyful even, and partly something grittier and designed to capture attention. The stops and the starts reintroduce moments of familiarity intermittently, and this kind of set-up continues throughout – keeping your focus on the art aspect of the project. Some later moments do veer off in more of a melodic and jazz-like direction though, Heraclitus is a strong example, feeling slightly Mac Miller-like in both the musicality and the outstanding lyricism.

Eclecticism roams free on the project but never so much so that it takes anything away from the central energy and intention of the playlist. That leading voice and several instrumental values help keep a thread of consistency that allows you to feel at home and on the level as the music plays out. Even with purely instrumental offerings, the vibe fits – the style of composition has that same level of character, seeming both emotional and content with the world, and making you feel strangely the same kind of way. Black and White (For Luxemburg) does precisely this. It feels simultaneously organic and synth-led – the drum-line is as upfront and personal as can be, yet the waves of audio behind this add a trip-hop-style layer of dreamlike delicacy.

There’s plenty to embrace and appreciate throughout this entire album, both musically and in the ideas that are presented. The raps are always conscious, intelligent, and offering something you almost certainly won’t have heard before. Well worth a download.

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Hey – thanks for your time with this, and congratulations on the album. How long has Spooks and Sagacity been in the making, and what does the title and underlying concept represent for you?

I’ve been working on this album for about 9 months, and most of my writing process consisted of more reading than anything. It took some time to fully gather all that I wanted to say, learn about some concepts, and articulate all of that into the form of these songs. The title Spooks and Sagacity has two parts to it, the word spooks comes from Max Stirner, and it really just means any abstract concept that people allow to dictate or control their lives, things like society or money. The word sagacity I took from reading a philosopher, Henry Odera Oruka and his writings on African Sage Philosophy, he did a project to firstly show that there was an existing philosophy in Africa and Africans aren’t just primal beings without ideas. The philosophy just wasn’t something written, so he wrote about it. The terms next to each other are supposed to represent a type of juxtaposition between written white philosophy and black spoken philosophy, and I touch a lot on ideas of both black and white philosophy throughout this album, but do it in my own way.

What originally inspired this kind of creative approach to making music?

It truthfully came from the musicians that inspired me along with all the scientists and philosophers that inspired me. I saw guys with controversial ideas embracing their weirdness. Essentially all I am is a weird black kid that likes to rap, and all those that inspired me showed me it’s okay to be that way. I saw them embracing it, so now I just embrace it.

What do you hope listeners take away from the project?

I hope it’s insightful and sonically pleasing to listen to for people. I hope it makes them question quite a bit about the world and their own lives and makes them think about things in a different way. My favorite songs are the songs that make you feel like “Oh, I always wanted to say that, but never knew how” or songs that resonate with people on a visceral level.

How do you decide which topics or ideas to run with on a track?

Usually it comes from a conversation I have with someone, or it comes from something I read. Sometimes there are songs that you make around one single idea and then grow into something much more, my track Heraclitus was like that. I learned about tritone substitutions and I just wanted to incorporate them into a track, the lyrics came months later, that was actually a track I was going to maybe throw away but I’m glad I didn’t.

If listener’s only have time for one – which song would you recommend, and why?

Empirical Thoughts only because it seems to be the most obtainable for listeners, it follows a relative popular song form, features great bars, and has some of the most straight forward lyrics on the album.

Is live performance an important part of the plan?

Live performance is actually the one thing I dislike about being a musician, I do it only because I think it’s expected, but I really enjoy the writing and composition much more. Of course live performances are important to the marketing aspect of things, so they’re inevitable, probably won’t do one anytime soon though.

What’s next for you?

Probably going back to doing some experimental work, I might do something special with a few of the artists on my label, something unexpected and incredible. I think we have some of the best, young, well-rounded artists right now so whatever comes next will for sure be great.

Is there anything else we should know?

I wanna let all the weird creative kids like me know that it’s cool to be weird and creative. And that art should be selfish, and if you only make art for money, then you’re a whore. That’s about it.

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Download or stream the album here. Find & follow New Pavement Records on Facebook & Instagram.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Musician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.

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