I don’t know if it was the 2 feet of metal in my leg that tuned me in to this frequency. Maybe it was just the watershed of chaos trickling down from New York to D.C. in the early 2000’s. Whatever the case, El-P’s monster of an album, ‘Fantastic Damage’ quickly became the soundtrack to my life during that time.
I’ll never forget the day, a day just like so many others that I’d lost count. Laying in the hospital, with that poisonous chemo slowly dripping into the tubes hanging out of my heart. Just trying to pass out so it would be over sooner. What else could go wrong? My knee had been completely replaced. I was down to 110 lbs at 6’6″. How many of these sessions could I make it through? Then the nurse comes running in hysterically crying that we’re at war. Apparently terrorists had just hijacked some planes, brought down the twin towers, and attacked the pentagon.
That was the climate this music was coming out of. Taking noises that you’re not supposed to make music with, and mashing it together into paranoid soundscapes as a document to the chaos. From the frustrated screams in Tuned Mass Damper, to bass heavy conspiracy theories in Accidents Don’t Happen, to the drugged out industrialized madness of Lazerfaces’ Warning… this was the shit I needed to hear. When so much around you is going wrong and you can’t control it, indeed El, thank god for the drugs and drums.
This album also opened up the door for me to an entire label of artists that were all riding the same wavelength. El-P’s grimy spaced out production carried over into Cannibal Ox’s ‘The Cold Vein.’ Mr. Lif dropped serious knowledge on ‘I Phantom’… and continued to make me realize how little I knew after I found the golden ticket, and tried my best at that quiz. Aesop Rock was searching for daylight on ‘Labor Days.’ Rob Sonic’s ‘Telicatessen’ was perfect for those hours right before dawn when you knew you weren’t falling asleep anytime soon. Then you could always count on the ‘Deadringer,’ RJD2, for some dope instrumentals. This music really helped me out in a strange time in my life, and for that I will always be a fan. Def Jux for life.