Straight out of Sydney’s Big Village, smooth operators Loose Change have gotten their maturity on for the release of their second LP Listening Party, which is out now. Following on from first single ‘Shoosh’ – a sharp, tongue-in-cheek, four minute jab at some people’s lack of ability to know when to be quiet – the record cracks Loose Change open to reveal a depth of lyric and instrumentation that says a hell of lot more than ‘pipe down, man.’
Five years after MCs [and Big Village co-founders] Ellesquire and Rapaport and producer/multi-instrumentalist P.Major first starting creating, their second album Listening Party is a mark in an unashamed ‘coming of age’ confessional. With the trio all hovering around 30 and sobered [to a point] into the fact that growing up may well be on the cards. They haven’t dropped any of the youthfulness of their previous works, admitting that the album’s title is a play on the contradictory concepts of paying attention and trying to be sensible [Listening…] and being young enough to still get into some fun […Party] if not trouble…
Indeed, Listening Party is the kind of album that gets a run at the Cognac/cheese platter house party, or during the post-party Sunday session when everyone reconvenes for dinner and slow sips, rather than soundtracking the wall-destroying, “in the club”, $2 basics type of party that littered our late teens and early twenties; where your parents invariably asked why the Peach Schnapps was inexplicably absent, the toilet seat was hanging on by a hinge and the garden hose had lost 5 feet of length overnight.
The irony is Listening Party is the aural representation of the modus operandi Loose Change set in motion when they came up with the band name way back in 2008.
Ellesquire and Rapaport, when they first started writing together, were already consciously steering away from bragging raps and BBQ party anthems and focusing on the deeper sides of their personalities, relationship problems, growing up and other life obstacles, endeavouring to instigate a ‘Change’ away from what other Australian hip hop artists were riffing on. ‘Loose’ easily summed up the vibe of the instrumentation – Rapaport and P.Major’s earlier collaborations in jazz bands [former on guitar, latter on sax] had already defined an aesthetic, and a point of difference, for Loose Change – with its low slung grooves, brass inflections, samples and original beat signatures.
Since the 2010 release of their debut, eponymous, album – that was available for free, and consequently snapped up 5000 impressed punters – the Loose Change trajectory has been going one way only: early reviews were positive, and support slot invitations poured in, seeing the boys warm stages for local acts Horrorshow, UrthBoy, Ozi Batla and Dialectrix [to name a few] as well as internationals including The Pharcyde, Gift Of Gab [Blackalicious] and Ultramagnetic MCs.
In between Loose Change albums all three have kept exceptionally busy with various solo projects and collaborations. Ellesquire received national acclaim for his debut solo release Ready, lead single On The Prowl (Produced by P.Major and Rapaport) in particular saw him place just outside the Hottest 100 (coming in an oh-so-close #103) and paved the way towards a big run of recent shows that included all Groovin The Moo dates as well as touring nationally with Seth Sentry on his sold out Dear Science Tour.
Offstage, Big Village label manager Rapaport has steered the label through twelve official releases since its inception in 2010. Last year he released a solo grime mixtape Patterns and also keeps busy as the creator and director of hip hop live art game show Sketch The Rhyme which recently performed a debut season at The Adelaide Fringe Festival in 2013, picking up a theatre award along the way.
Producer P Major moonlights as a trained jazz saxophonist and is involved in a diverse range of musical projects spanning African and experimental music right through to Dereb The Ambasaddor, while his Loose Change music gives more than a nod to 90s pioneers like Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde and Slum Village, all the while creating a laid back and soulful approach to hip hop.
Listening Party represents a serious coming together between the producer and his two emcees, as it’s the first time in their five year Loose Change history that P Major has been absorbed so completely into the creative process: working with Ellesquire and Rapaport from day one, to create landscapes that spoke to the lyrics, as well as engineering, handling vocal recording and solidifying the group, sonically.
Currently the guys are on tour joining good buddies Thundamentals on several shows, drop into a Dialectrix party, a Home Brew Crew show and round out their onslaught with select headline events.
Listening Party Tour Dates
Friday 25th October – The Joynt, Brisbane
Tickets on the door
Thursday 31st October – Entrance Leagues Club, Gosford
Friday 1st November – Baroque, Katoomba
Saturday 2nd November – Splashes, Wollongong
Friday 8th November – The Espy, Melbourne
Saturday 9th November – The Basement, Sydney
(Supporting Home Brew Crew)
Saturday 7th December – Civic Underground, Sydney