This is really a double release, a collection of ten tracks and a multimedia CD-ROM. Musically, there’s not much that’s hemp-related; if there’s anything uniting these bands is that they all seem to be local to the Southeast, mostly from the Atlanta area. There’s a pretty good selection here, eschewing the expected Hootie rock in favor of more experimental sounds. Flap’s “Pickin’ Up The Trash” alternates between pseudo-rap and demented jazzy riffing, and Feyerabend’s “Martin” has a cool start/stop thing going along with tasteful use of the violin. Audio Explorations’ closing “Yoo” may not be about smokin’ dope, but it’s certainly an appropriate soundtrack for the activity, nearly fifteen minutes of subtle delayed guitar, whispered vocals and minimalist drums.
On the CD-ROM side, there’s an HTML/QuickTime based presentation, with film clips as disparate as a Swiss hemp store worker showcasing all her cannabis products, Michael Franti (Spearhead, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy) discussing the economic viability of the War on Drugs, and a handful of other QuickTime clips. Though fairly well-assembled, the CD-ROM had some minor glitches, and didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t know — admittedly, I’ve been following the movement for years.
It’s unclear how Hempcyclopedia will directly benefit the movement — no mention of profits going to NORML, CAN or other pro-hemp organizations is on the disc. However, the music on the disc is excellent, and worth having regardless, and the material on the CD-ROM would serve as a good introduction to the movement. Shuteye Records, 2230 Panstone Drive, Suite 100-A, Marietta, GAQ 30060; firstname.lastname@example.org