Aesop Rock - Spirit World Field Guide

The "must not sleep, must warn others" ink of Aesop Rock's early spellbooks has gradually given way to more insular themes, as if the sorcerer mage, having flown too close to the sun, has retreated to his cave to ride out some internal hellstorm near-rhyming infernal maelstrom, and it turns out this single-player, many-charactered D&D campaign is much more fun than faithfully filling the role of your doomsday cult's most loquacious doomsayer. 

"The Gates" closes, "My dream home is like 10,000 dead bolts and less than no windows." Make no mistake, though, this isolation is a means rather than an ends, the negative darkness a dream portal.

A telling aside: Aesop Rock albums often have one relatively straightforward song, which you can listen to just once and know what it's about. Labor Days had "No Regrets." Skelethon had "Ruby 81." Spirit World Field Guide has "1 to 10," a 53-second track about the rapper's bad back. 

All at once, Spirit World Field Guide is Aesop Rock's most outlandish, focused, conceptual and funniest album yet. I'm equal parts upset and unsurprised the vinyl has already sold out.

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