Release Date: May 10, 2011
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Electronic, Rap, R&B, Soul, Funk, Garage, Spoken Word, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Neo-Soul, Indie Electronic, Experimental Rock, Noise Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap, International, Dubstep, Poetry, Comedy/Spok
Volcanic Sunlight is musician, poet, and actor Saul Williams' fifth long-player. It was preceded by the single “Explain My Heart” and, on the album date (11-11-11), followed by a second one, "Patience." Those who enjoyed Williams' last effort, 2008's Trent Reznor-produced The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust (Niggy 2 is rumored to be in the offing), or any previous recording of his for that matter, might initially scratch their heads at the sounds -- and material -- on Volcanic Sunlight. Produced by the venerable Renaud Letang -- who has worked with everyone from Feist to Manu Chao to Jane Birkin -- this is reportedly Mr.
Saul Williams :: Volcanic SunlightSony Music EntertainmentAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonThere's a decade's worth of history for Saul Williams on this website alone dating back to his album "Amethyst Rock Star." His career as a cutting edge poet is even longer though, dating all the way back to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the mid-1990's. He's always had a reputation as a powerful orator and provocateur, and with no apologies he'll put making you think above shaking that ass. Even if that's been a detriment to commercial success, it's a price he's willing to pay - after all spoken word artists don't typically go gold or platinum anyway.That being said there have been times where just being a poetic genius wasn't enough.
Saul Williams has been trafficking in his particular brand of hyper-literate hip-hop for years now. His fourth studio album (and first in four years), Volcanic Sunlight is a dense, engaging work, one that reaches for your feet and booty as surely as it does your heart and soul. Where Williams’ earlier work found him working with everything from darkly jaunty piano-based raps (“Black Stacey”) to electro-clash reworkings of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, large swaths Volcanic Sunlight could be mistaken for TV on the Radio’s swarming sci-fi-R&B freakouts, or perhaps relative newcomer Theophilus London’s spacious modernist R&B workouts.
To say Saul Williams has a way with words would be an understatement. His hyper-literate mix of political and spiritual pondering isn’t for everyone, but for those who get it, Saul isn’t just sharing his thoughts - he’s speaking words the world needs to hear; a sapient, emphatic voice in the midst of a genre plagued by aimless braggadocio and macho posturing. This aptitude for words lies in his ‘slam’ poetry roots - much of his early material was essentially his early writing set to music - and his rhymes have been brought to life by a string of talented producers and musicians, most notably Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor on The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust.