His second full length studio album, Toronto artist Prolific's thirteen song Amor Fati is a challenging and inspiring work. A rich sensorial experience of rap poetry and sound--live instruments, digital sounds, turntablism, and samples--Prolific weaves the personal and the social into an often jarring narrative of violence, drugs and alcohol, mental illness, suicide, and death in the thick of a dream-like urban landscape that both attracts and repels.
Musically, Amor Fati is indicative of a burgeoning producer with a signature style. Drawn from classical, boom-bap, industrial, and even gothic influences, the stylistic variations are nevertheless seamless and consistent. Prolific’s extensive time in the studio as an engineer and producer - in tandem with his nuanced and autodidactic library of reference material - allows him to create musical landscapes ranging from gritty back alleys, through the pastoral, and on to the gates of Hell.
I'm, bipolar, fucked in the head,
Gun drawn, playing Russian roulette....
But Prolific's compositions do more than offer riveting accounts of life in extremes. Throughout Amor Fati, the artist invites his listeners to look at these dislocating realities from a series of different angles. "Collisions with the Infinite," for instance, begins with a droning rendition of a few sentences from a Terence McKenna talk. "We have no tradition of Shamanism. We have no tradition of journeying into these mental worlds. We are terrified of madness..." Prolific's Amor Fati looks madness in the eye. It explores the "mental worlds" for which our Western culture has no language, catching glimmers of hope in the tumult of personal despair and hanging onto the possibility of transformation in the midst of dystopia. From the title track--
and I see hope in the broken little pieces of my heart,
that I put back together until my pain was an art,
….a blade made in the shape of the dark,
that can cut through nightfall and break it apart
Psychological struggle becomes spiritual struggle--"the mind is a tool of alchemy" Prolific raps in "Divine Disrespect"--and the artist guides the listener through the detritus of personal and social dislocation towards the "Dawn," the penultimate track in Prolific's composition.
An extraordinary work of multiple voices and layered soundscapes, Amor Fati engages in ongoing conversation with Western cultural traditions. The work is rife with allusion, ranging from Greek mythology to William Blake--from John Keats to Jimi Hendrix. But the references are not mere decoration. Instead, the voices of the distant and near past slip almost naturally into the brutal honesty, originality, and powerful delivery of Prolific's raps. Nor does Prolific leave unchanged the material he incorporates into his art. In lines that rewrite the conclusion of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," Prolific offers a compelling image of personal transformation and redemption--
Who keeps on walking when nothing is left,
and mutters words of hope from under his breathe….
Who cuts the albatross down from the chain on his neck,
and acts with love and treats every day with respect,
The title of Prolific's effort - Amor Fati - is a Latin phrase that can be translated as "love your fate" and that calls to mind the German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's idea of "The Eternal Return" (the title of the album's opening track that sets the tone for the entire album). Prolific's work challenges his listeners to embrace the circumstances into which they have been thrown--to find healing through the affirmation of the worth of their own life and fate even in a world that is witnessing the rising of the "blood-dimmed tide."
released November 5, 2015
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