Seattle's Jonny Sonic, otherwise known as Rick Kowal, is a man with his fingers in a great many different musical pies. He is the producer for HandPicked Entertainment's ventures, he is a renowned re-mixer and has composed several advertisement jingles. And now this: Coop Resident.
It's certainly bold. Punishing funk and hip-hop combine with stripped electronic beats to very effective ends, earmarking Jonny Sonic as not only a skilled orchestrator, but an impassioned performer. It is unbelievably tight, with every musician cramming down on their instrument and getting to the meat of the arrangements with ease. The music itself crashes along with the verve of a maniacal OutKast project with added electronica, effectively and elaborately ticking every dancing box. This is exciting to listen to. Not only that, but it is a good experience. The listener isn't beaten up with the message, only swayed into the Sonic state of mind. A definite atmosphere is conjured up, one where rhythm is paramount and getting an eighteen-month-old child to sing on your album is just dandy.
And, pleasingly, Coop Resident contains as much invention as most commercial hip-hop's entire output in any one track. Medicine conjures up a spy movie atmosphere with, oddly, basketball shoe-squeaks ('The Rodman Mysteries', anyone?). The choruses are so violent that one cannot resist doing that stupid motion where your lips purse and your head bobs ridiculously - 'NO MORE!' you'll scream along on Sore. The whole thing is a damn good time, worthy of inclusion in any huge pimp's playlist, but has the intelligence to be more than that. Jonny Sonic is a potential mastermind and, if his music shapes up to be as good as this first offering, good things are sure to follow.
Reputedly a revelation in the live arena, it is plain to see that the energy in the songs translates directly to the performance sphere. No doubt he is as good in the flesh as the critics have been saying, let's just hope the tried and tested meanders of the hip-hop community that are into useless showboating don't overtake the clear invention at work here.