Starving Poet's third album is a work of sonic and thematic contrasts, a mystical collage of music, politics and philosophy that surprises the senses. Throughout this highly conceptual LP, she explores complex issues like Western self-perception, corporate media and the US's 'massive militaristic extraction empire' with a curious ear, parodying late capitalist society with a subtle and ironic flair.
Radical content demands radical form and Imperial Cafe doesn't disappoint, uniting disparate scraps of field recording, dub, techno, industrial, hip-hop and grime into a dangerous new sound. The entire album was recorded, mixed and mastered live on hardware to give a raw, warehouse-ready feel.
'Syrian Consistency' mashes up high-intensity Middle Eastern percussion, classic NY hip-hop and industrial dub, the mercurial 'Atomic Bomb Water Drops' liquifies, bends and warps like molten metal under heat and junglist saga 'No Man's Jazz' jumps as wildly between tempos as it does between breakcore, jazz and techno. Prettier but just as effective are opener 'Unholy Italian Intoxicants' which starts as a coffee shop field recording then transitions into delicate trip-hop and the mystical ringtone-sampling cascade of 'Pindaric Arc of Stars'.