Mental Combat 914
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
A ‘retainer’ can be many things. Most commonly known as that wire contraption used in mouth braces, or a small sum of money that can be used as a deposit for legal services yet rendered. Or it can also be an MC from Melbourne. He’s just released the album Valley Of Black Daisies (Pang Productions) and you’d think he was an old-time cowboy from the oil painting that is depicted on the cover. The album was produced by Must, who is the colleague of a fella named Mata. Combined they released a decent Melbourne compilation album called Vic Spitters in 2004, but then in 2005 they opened up some more with their own collection Studio Therapy. Then another year later they made quite an impressive improvement with Urban Monk’s Gunpowder Footsteps and keeping the one album a year format flowing, they also produced another newcomer called J.Waters and his album In The Impossible Quest For Encapsulation. Though it was really only an EP and they do this all under the guise of Pang Productions. So come 2008 and we get yet another unfamiliar name in Retainer. His style is pure underground Australian hip hop with a tangent towards the more lyrical abstract nature. There’s no boofhead lyrics or hard rock attitude, instead we get an MC who is more interested in getting deeper with his words. I wouldn’t say he’s the tightest MC to grace the mic, but what he lacks in a developed flow he makes up with content. Though it is the kind that needs rewinding to truly grasp the meaning. I’d say his audience would be other MCs and those who are obsessed with the more esoteric fringes of the genre. Throwing the listener off course is the track
Gem Stoned, which includes a verse each from lads A.D.D. and Bigs who are content with bragging about some nefarious deeds in a rather brash manner compared to Retainer’s more composed style. The beats are uncomplicated and sit comfortably with a very down-tempo direction. Choice cuts would be the ear-catching vocal sample used on Gummy Shark, the title track with DJ
Bogues. There are loads of vocal samples from old Western films as well as the last track The Deep End, which not only includes vocal duties from Mata & Must, but also contains some familiar dialogue from Michael Mann’s ultimate cops and robbers flick Heat. The Pang Production team are certainly grafting themselves a back catalogue. It’ll only be in due time that their name will eventually spread outside Victoria.