SleepOver - SoCalled
When Josh Dolgin aka SoCalled invites you to a Sleepover, leave the kids at home. This is a grown up affair, or is it? It’s definitely not for sleepy ears; you’ll need to be wide awake to make sense of it all. The cover has all the creepiness of a middle-aged plushophile’s sweet dream. But, leave your prejudice at the front door and pull on your pjs, SoCalled is twisted like David Lynch is twisted but no less genius. The rap-happy fusionist goes where no one dared or cared to go before; an active mind at creative play squeezing together folkloric klezmer with electro-funk, Canadiana, neo-soul and much more. Assembling an odd but interesting cast of players, Sleepover peeks into previously unexplored places in almost voyeuristic ways. Let’s start with SoCalled’s history of dancing up klezmer music, add in hip hop pioneer Roxanne Shante, Calypso King Mighty Sparrow, bluegrass ingénue, Katie Moore, Balkan Brass master, Boban Markovic, Chilly Gonzales and more and you have an album as colourful in flavors as a bag of gummi bears. Between rap and dancehall bookends like Work With What You Got and Richi for instance, you’ll find a very conservative, piano-based arrangement of Peggy Seegar's stirring folk tale of the Springhill Mine Disaster in Nova Scotia, showcasing SoCalled’s ‘Queen of the Throat’, Katie Moore. It’s very pretty. Does it work here, on this album? Uh, sure, why not … but it’s certainly unexpected. These things do happen at unsupervised sleepovers. Speaking of the title, it’s another hip hopper channeling its inner polka. DJ Assault raps, “Boys in their pjs checkin' out the bootays, girls in their nightgowns, we’re going to pull their panties down.” Mischievous yes, but not malicious, SleepOver is for grown ups and for kids when the grown ups aren’t there to watch.