Chemo has been an essential part of the fabric of UK Hip Hop for the greater part of the last decade. His rightly legendary Kilimanjaro Studios has been the creative hub for some of the most important work done in the genre in that whole time. Whether he's utilizing his skills producing for the biggest and most skilled Emcees in the UK scene or flexing his creative muscles turning out beautiful instrumental work under his Telemachus AKA or even working as a hidden but vital part of an LPs mixing process for another artist, Chemo is seemingly a very busy guy indeed.
It's no wonder then, that this is what you could understandably call his first "solo" long play release. There have, of course, been compilations of his work made into Album form before. The superb "Squirrelz with Gunz" and "The Stomach of the Mountain" were collections of Chemo's work. But as far as I know "In The Evening" is his first dedicated Telemachus LP.
We open with a sample from the classic 70's french cartoon Ulysses 31, which features his namesake in a starring role. "Planet Earth" sets out the stall nicely, with a thumping bouncy bass line giving way to flute patterns before we switch to the almost freeform Jazz drums of "Tennis Season". Both these tracks are full on head nod material, which makes the albums title track with it's mellower Rhodes hooks and Trumpet splashes alongside understated vocals stand out more.
Chemo has obviously been careful when picking artists to join him on this journey and the first of them arrives in the form of Reggae beast Jah Mirikle. "The Light" is reminiscent of a Leftfield classic, rebel lyrics and sparse powerful drums. "A Boy Who Thought He Could Fly" opens with a music box loop over guitar stabs and percussion before heading off into more of an east Asian influenced vibe. "Trivandrum" is an Indian inspired sojourn across a backdrop of Sitar Riffs and bell percussion while long term collaborator and YNR head man Jehst pops up on "The Sheltering Sky", probably one of my favourite tracks on the album.
"I'm on a higher plateu/Dry dirt trail on this mountain road/Vultures over head and I'm counting the crows/Alfred Hitcock Cowboy /arms folded in a B-Boy pose" Jehst - "The Sheltering Sky"
Other highlights from "In The Evening" include the sparse guitars accompanying spoken word artist El Crisis on the laconic "Rose Petals" and the classic Boom Bap swagger of Roc Marciano collaboration "Scarecrows". Overall, this is a very good album indeed. Chemo has allowed his Telemachus alter ego free reign to paint musical tapestries within the medium of head nodding bass music. Whether that music is Hip Hop or Dub or something else entirely is down to the individual listener. Whatever you choose to call it "In The Evening" is an important LP.
9/10 - A hugely enjoyable journey through the mind of one of the best Producers the UK has ever called their own
You can get "In The Evening" from YNR Productions right here -