So, I love "The Life Of Pablo". I think that record showcases Kanye at his best in the 2010s decade. It's an absolute mess, yes it is, and that's what makes it special, it may be all over the place but regardless, the creativity on it is simply unmatched. Every idea inside that record is done almost to perfection, and it sees Kanye explore multiple themes that deal with his life as a whole, comparing himself to a painter, a saint, and a drug kingpin.
Now, what would happen if, after the incident on the Saint Pablo tour, Kanye made a dark ambient record that's the reflection of his last project, but torn into a million pieces, and reassembled, to be almost indistinguishable from what it used to be?
Well, the Pablo Collective made that come true. In an extremely interesting way, after getting dreamt of and shared through 4Chan, a group of people came together to do this. I think the story alone is creative, but, just wait until you hear the entire project. At 1 hour and 13 minutes, and just 4 songs, "The Death Of Pablo" is one of the most experimental, weird, dark, and even creepy things I've ever listened to.
The sound of the project is pretty much made up of 3 essential things: Samples of "The Life Of Pablo" and another couple of tracks from other albums (particularly "Devil In A New Dress" in "Ultralight Wall"), interviews with Kanye, and distortion. This project is dark, it's even scary at times, especially when hearing how an album that I've grown to love over time has gotten to the point where it's just indistinguishable from what it used to be. It builds up its sound, at times, for a bit too long, but hey, it works well in my eyes.
Throughout the 4 songs, we hear what could almost be perceived as a dive into the darkest depths, until the final track, where we finally come out of it, although, I'm not gonna touch on that just yet. "Ultralight Wall" is the opener of the record, and, as you may have guessed, it uses "Ultralight Beam" as a base. This track is, out of the 4, probably the calmest one, and the most similar to dark ambient, it sees really sudden changes throughout its 13-minute runtime, but, the longer it advances, the more distorted and weird it gets, until it just ends with a bit from an interview with Kanye, although it's far from being the most substantial one we'll hear on the project. "Washed Up" feels like a twisted medley of sorts, mixing and throwing in elements of completely different songs of the record, particularly "Famous" being the most prominent one. Here, we start getting into the noisier side of the project, with its first half being a drone section that distorts a part of a song I can't quite recognize...? Oddly enough, this song is the one I found to be the poppier and catchiest of them all, having truly interesting and even hypnotizing sections where it loops some parts of "Famous" and even adds in a guitar! WHAT!? That was probably the most unexpected thing inside this whole thing.
But, "Washed Up" doesn't quite prepare you for what's to come. "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 3", is not only horrid in the imagery it proposes through its agonic screams of pain but, it also leaves a haunting sensation that lasts even after the final track. This song obviously takes as a base both parts of "Father Stretch My Hands", and it starts normal enough, almost like picking up where "Washed Up" left off, but, the more it advances, it just feels as if it starts melting and dissolving in front of you. It corrodes and breaks apart with each second that passes, it's borderline scary, and it just leaves a horrible taste in your mouth, in the best sense of the expression, with how it goes down.
The record ends with "Fade Pt. 2", this probably being the most normal track of the album. It serves a bit as the calm after the storm we just lived through, although it does kinda bother me because of its simplicity. It quite literally just feels like a chopped up and slowed down version of the original "Fade", and it's truly so uninteresting, that it isn't even able to make you focus on it, keeping your mind on the last song, but, it also is a terrible closer to the project, and it really lets a lot of its potential down because it just wasn't able to capitalize on the amazing flow the project had up until this point. I'll admit though, I think the interview bit at the end is just great, Kanye talking about the way he feels about how media portray him, and how it hurts and pains him to see everything he does get clowned by everyone while having this weird and kinda uneasy industrial instrumentation and echo going on.
It's a great project, and it really just leaves me thinking to myself that creativity really doesn't know limits. This thing is fantastic almost front to back, it may not be, enjoyable per se, but, it is interesting and captivating because of how great it takes a concept and how it changes it to be a completely different thing, even if the last track really leaves a lot to be desired. Extremely recommended and truly an amazing 73 minutes of music.