Component System with the Auto Reverse

Open Mike Eagle

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Component System with the Auto Reverse Review

by Paul Simpson

Open Mike Eagle's eighth album is inspired by his formative experiences as a young hip-hop fan, particularly the myriad late nights he spent listening to rap broadcasts on college radio and making cassette mixtapes from them. Backed by smudgy, lo-fi beats from producers like Madlib, Quelle Chris, and Illingsworth, the majority of the album's rhymes sound raw, off the cuff, and unfiltered, resembling particularly inspired freestyle sessions. Right from the first track, Eagle throws out too many sharp quips and clever references to list, requiring multiple listens and possibly detailed annotation to connect all the dots, but his subject matter generally remains down to earth and relatable. Following the cathartic Anime, Trauma and Divorce, Component System with the Auto Reverse feels more whimsical, yet there's still several moments that are highly personal, particularly "I Retired Then I Changed My Mind," which expands on some of the same subjects as his previous album. Acknowledging some of his primary influences, "For DOOM" is a moody, haunting tribute to the masked villain, and several tracks feature lush production by D.I.T.C.'s Diamond D, including the reflective "Crenshaw and Homeland," which contains references to Wu-Tang Clan, Guru, and Talking Heads. Guest emcees Video Dave and Still Rift turn out be the album's secret weapons, particularly on the R.A.P. Ferreira-featuring "Multi-Game Arcade Cabinet" and the breezy, surreal "Kites." Both of these tracks appear during the album's looser, more stream-of-conscious second half, which also includes a Serengeti interlude and a typically freewheeling Aesop Rock feature. Filled with casually brilliant moments, Component System with the Auto Reverse is easily one of Open Mike Eagle's most enjoyable efforts.

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