The dense and insular rapper Milo is on an incredible run right now. The Maine-based Milo has been releasing music and building up a cult fanbase since 2010, but last year, he released the truly dazzling Who Told You To Think?!!?!?!?! and took himself to another level. Last month, he followed it up … More »
The Maine-based rapper, producer, and record store owner Milo is a truly singular figure. As a rapper, he’s a vivid and sharp writer, but he doesn’t operate the way many other rappers do. Instead, he follows his own music, chasing arcane and complicated punchlines or finding poetically expansive ways to dig into black identity. He’s … More »
I don’t generally feel much jealousy towards the youth — I’m fine with my (advanced) age right now, thank you very much. But no one is immune from getting a little envy-eyed checking out the career moves of milo (a.k.a. Rory Ferreira, or the stylized lowercased milo, as he prefers). At 26, it’s not like milo is that young; but with that talent — plus what he has accomplished as a rapsmith and the uncompromising cottage industry he has built — well, it’s enough to throw anyone into a right resentful tizzy, from old masters to genius fetuses.
The indefatigable milo will release budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies on September 21 on his own Ruby Yacht label, and it is yet another supremely assured and meticulously crafted “contemporary rhythm and poetry album.” Whether rhyme schemed or blank versed, milo loves words, so the album contains the sustained song sentences “Thinking While Eating a Handful of Almonds,” “Deposition Regarding the Green Horse for Rap,” and “The Esteemed Saboteur Reggie Baylor Hosts an Evening at the Scallops Hotel.” The first single, however, is the single-celled “Stet,” and it can be heard in all its wordy glory here and below.
budding ornithologists … was produced by Kenny Segal, Ol’ Burger Beats, scallops hotel (milo), mt marcy, Randal Bravery, Steel Tipped Dove, and Q the Sun. You can pre-order it right here. You can also spend the rest of your day reading milo’s complete tracklisting and tour dates below. Good luck.
budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies complete and intact, exhaustive and uncondensed, whole-hogged and enchilada’d tracklist:
01. Mythbuilding Exercise No.9
04. Pure Scientific Intelligence (quantum)
05. Failing the Stress Test (iguessillbeheadingthen)
06. Mid Answer Trying to Remember What the Question Is
08. Aubergine Cloak
09. Galahad in Goosedown (fiat lustitia Et Pereat Mundus)
10. Deposition Regarding the Green Horse for Rap
11. Romulan Ale
12. Thinking While Eating a Handful of Almonds
14. The Esteemed Saboteur Reggie Baylor Hosts an Evening at the Scallops Hotel
15. Sanssouci Palace (4 Years Later)
milo (rapsmith) and the ruby yacht house band in conjunction with oliver booking co. present the green horse for rap (a touring jubilee concept) with support by Kenny Segal (a.k.a. milo tour dates):
10.03.18 – Burlington, VT – ArtsRiot
10.04.18 – Biddeford, ME – Soulfolks Records
10.05.18 – New Haven, CT – State House
10.06.18 – Cambridge, MA – Sonia
10.07.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Knitting Factory
10.09.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Kungfu Necktie
10.10.18 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
10.11.18 – Richmond, VA – Capital Ale House
10.12.18 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
10.13.18 – Charlotte, NC – Snug Harbor
10.14.18 – Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub
10.16.18 – Atlanta, GA – Aisle 5
Milo will return with his next solo LP on his label Ruby Yacht three weeks from today. It’s called budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies. If that album name isn’t enough of an indication, then let me tell you that Milo (Rory Ferreira) writes some of the most esoteric, eloquent rap out … More »
Nostrum Grocers (ELUCID + milo)
[Ruby Yacht; 2018]
The name Nostrum Grocers has been floating around forever it seems. Its surface meaning, painting ELUCID and milo as makers/sellers of mystical medicines and/or social schemes, might strike a chord with both longtime followers and casual listeners. But I for one can’t shake the feeling that it also sounds and looks a hell of a lot like Nostrand Grocers, as in grocery stores located along Brooklyn’s Nostrand Avenue, of which there are many. Right or wrong, I like this idea, because it localizes the duo’s esoterica, makes it folksy in a way, like I might spend an afternoon at the Nostrum Grocers in deep conversation with the wise-old shopkeeper or just pop in for a seltzer and be on my way, refreshed.
Both artists became fathers in the time between this album’s conception and arrival, with ELUCID writing all of his lyrics during the last month of his wife’s pregnancy. Perhaps accordingly, his voice, which might typically be characterized as gruff-melodic, conveys unaffected vulnerability and determination on the song “‘peace is the opposite of security.” The resulting tone complements the intimacy with which he writes, resulting in something less insular and abstract in delivery than might have otherwise been the case. Here, milo’s verse makes for a clever addendum, the noble poet willfully playing witty hypeman when warranted. Elsewhere, however, it’s he who pushes the discourse into new dimensions. On “medium,” for example, after ELUCID speed-snipes a seemingly impossible-to-follow rhyme pattern (A-A-B-B-C-C-C-A with like 64 internal variations?), milo surfs tempo changes with a maneuvering so weightless and fluid you might think it was a studio trick were it coming from anyone other than the road-horse and self-proclaimed guildsman. He makes the line “Celes King turns a bean into a bean bag/ Celes King turn a trap into a think tank” sound perfectly natural, even when the words don’t rhyme and you have no idea who that person is. (He was a civil rights activist.)
Soul Folks Records, the store opened by milo earlier this year in Biddeford, ME, has temporarily closed to the public and now functions primarily as a creative dock for the Ruby Yacht, his label/collective. Also earlier this year, milo publicly lamented on the spiritual failings of a consumer society that demands buying and selling. He was also banned from a grocery store over some bullshit and, separately, expressed a dream to someday open his own. Nostrum Grocers is not quite that, but it’s close. There’s an insularity and a communality at work here, where creation, like life, happens for its own sake, sometimes planned, often spontaneous, but always necessary and with no off days.
“Y’all call it art-rap,” the Maine-based rapper Milo says toward the end of Sovereign Nose Of (Y)our Arrogant Face, the new album that he just released under his Scallops Hotel moniker. He sounds disgusted, dejected. He repeats it a few times, as if he needs time to process the stupidity of that genre name. But … More »
Maine rapper Milo placed highly on our list of 2017’s best rap albums with Who Told You To Think??!!?!?!?!, and today he’s back with another album by surprise with his Scallops Hotel project. According to Bandcamp liner notes, the new Sovereign Nose Of (Y)our Arrogant Face is the second installment of a … More »
Streaming changed things. 2017 was the year that rap once again reaffirmed its stranglehold on the collective imagination of America’s youth. Like the moment when Billboard first started using Soundscan and inadvertently proved the massive popularity of N.W.A, the streaming services of the world showed just how powerful this music remains. Rap dominated streaming charts. More »
who told you to think??!!?!?!?!
[ruby yacht; 2017]
There’s a lot of easy copy that could go here: “milo is an enigma;” “milo makes art, not rap;” “milo’s work rewards careful listening.” It’s all true to some degree, but there’s a tendency for critics and fans alike to delineate milo’s work vs. the rap world at large — a frame that’s especially odd in light of milo’s repeated statements that who told you to think??!!?!?!?! is an album about dissolving boundaries.
To an extent, milo brings it upon himself; there’s a self-styled iconoclasm underlying his creative practice, which balances fierce loyalty to his collaborators and the endless pursuit of liberation from obligation to any other entity. On the other hand, lines like “Why’s your favorite rapper always babbling about his brand again?/ Like we asked him? Like we asked him?” are less a condemnation of the form than an assertion about milo’s place within it; to remove him from the genre proper is to neuter the many things he has to say about it.
Who told you to think? There’s no need to. As milo would tell it, [I think], he’s interested in everything but my opinion on his album. In his metaphysical concern, he walks a self-defeating line, laying out a strict worldview in language that can’t help but open itself to interpretation. Consequently, I’ll be damned, the album does carry the weight of profundity. Plenty of music has a “point,” but it’s not usually a chore to find; such a thing is usually laid bare lyrically or self-evident from its impenetrability. Here, that which is theoretically on display is instead entirely capable of escaping notice. With loose song structures and utterly sedate production, songs and phrases bleed into one another even under close scrutiny. Hearing the end of final track “rapper (ft. Busdriver)” might leave you feeling as though the album has passed you by. Seemingly free association belies the content, phrased just specifically enough throughout to outline a single, intended meaning that is either understood or not.
But back to careful listening: never before have I heard an album so apt to be projected upon. To suggest that one rap album is inherently more worthy of investigation than another is ridiculous, of course; Stockholm Syndrome would suggest that attention and appreciation go hand in hand. Instead, it’s a quality of the listener; I have listened attentively to this release and was duly rewarded. What, then, brings that about? How can a work orient itself toward the listener’s intensive study, and what does it give up in doing so? By dint of the zeitgeist moreso than milo himself, it’s impossible not to wonder whether he’s set apart deliberately or incidentally; so much of his work’s appeal is entangled in its implied authenticity that one hates to think of any element as existing for effect.
This is the crux of the album’s difficulty: it feels personal and scans as though it should be, but time and time again, it leaves me not quite sure whether I know a single thing about milo, the person. “landscaping” opens with “What’s a selfie, that’s not me, that’s my chullachaqui,” and it’s easy to imagine that authorial distance extending to the album itself. It leaves the listener wanting, constructing an intricate world without ever populating it, as cleverness in spades overrides characterization. Then again, milo is the architect of his world rather than the inhabitant; when and if he chooses to reveal himself, we could scarcely be expected to recognize him.