One must always admire the multi-talented artist. There are very few people out there who can express themselves well in one medium, let alone several. So, even if the outcomes are a bit uneven between the formats, one must applaud the effort. Nic Gill (a.k.a. Fugitive Elf) is an Academy Award-nominated animator, and, though I don’t think I’ve seen his work, Soulbound by no means reaches that level in music. Not that the album’s not good, for it is quite interesting. It just lacks a certain punch. In fact, Gill as Elf is a bit more creative than most of his producer counterparts. He, like Ming + FS, is more into song construction so that we are given more than just layered effects on top of beats. Instead, this CD feels almost like a live DJ set with a whole matter of changes and influences from blues to reggae to your normal hip-hop and downtempo. And it’s all done masterfully. For example, with “Amnesiac Smile,” the Fugitive One maintains a dark, menacing malaise while also providing a frenetic subtext, and when the questions are finally starting to answer themselves, the music switches up again. Full of twists and turns, Soulbound will keep you guessing. However, it’s like that movie that’s well-acted, beautifully shot and directed, and marvelously written but there’s something missing that you just can’t put your finger on that separates it from greatness.
Shadow Records: http://www.shadowrecords.com