Things are weird right now, right? Maybe it’s all the empty streets. Maybe it’s the ‘daily death updates’. Maybe it’s the bizarre ritual of standing at your window clapping at a set time every week, like a seal dragging itself out for one last performance at Sea World. Whatever it is, the past month has felt closer to a bad Gaspar Noé film than reality.
So it could be easy for the new release from the Gold on the Mixer crew to pass you by. But listening to Good Maths, you realise your definition of bizarre is all about context. That’s because there are two types of weird. There’s the current kind – witnessed in barren streets through our windows (the bad kind). Then there’s the Gold on the Mixer kind of weird, which is closer to pushing a double-dose of ayahuasca into your ears. In short, the good kind of weird.
The LP comes courtesy of shapeshifting emcee Intricate Diligence (AKA Elliot Fresh, AKA Relentless Exquisite, AKA Zatoichi’s Ears) and beatsmith Palmer Eldritch, who’s proven his beat credentials on various past GotM releases. The result is another disorienting journey into an alternative universe, albeit of a much more enjoyable kind than real-world 2020.
As with other Fresh releases, the lyrical mind-bogglers are out in full force. References to ancient Egypt and infinite realities jostle alongside bars about basketball and DMT. Numbers like ‘Komodo’ capture the essence of this sound – slightly silly, skillfully delivered and undeniably catchy. Likewise, Diligence cuts through the soft soul loop of ‘Spud Webb’ like the diminutive B-ball player after which it’s named.
But the album isn’t all abstract concepts and bombastic symbolism. The G-funk inspired ‘Cashews’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Goldie Lookin’ Chain album, albeit with better accents. On this, he’s joined by Divine Process, AKA Oxford rapper Rawz, and even at their most ridiculous you can’t help but admire the dexterity of the bars.
Most of the tunes come in at two minutes or under, and the diversity of beats keeps the pace ticking along nicely. The beats come courtesy of Eldritch; a carousel of soul melodies, funky basslines and obscure samples. The producer gives a unique twist to each track, but the hazy rock of ‘Swish’ has to be up there with best beat of the album.
OK, so Good Maths is weirder than anything going on outside your window right now. But it’s also the best kind of weird – throwing open the door to a universe primarily reserved for the ingestion of dark-web liberty caps. So lock the doors, wash your hands, roll a zoot, and enjoy Intricate Diligence dropping cosmic bars over blissful backpack beats.