Posts Tagged ‘terra firma’

Klashnekoff – ‘Back to the Sagas’ Review

June 5, 2010

Back to the Sagas album cover

With a celebrated music career that has spanned over a decade yet gleaned only a handful of releases, UK rapper Klashnekoff (a.k.a. Darren Kandler) is a figure that commands both love and frustration in equal measure.

His elusiveness and steadfast refusal to participate in industry politics has undoubtedly prevented him from wider success. However, in an age where bland, do-anything-for-the-fame urban acts dominate the media, his outspoken character and honest music is admirable.

Sagas of Klashnekoff album cover

After a three year hiatus fraught with clique divisions and label worries, Klashnekoff is back with his third album ‘Back to the Sagas.’ Working closely with rap producer Smasher, ‘Back to the Sagas’ is a weighty effort that aims to recapture the raucous, Rasta-infused essence of his debut, 2004’s ‘The Sagas of Klashnekoff’.

Indeed, the Hackney-based MC wastes no time in establishing a conceptual link between the two. Album opener ‘Church (intro)’ immerses the listener once again in a Babylonian world of struggle and tussle as Klash sets out his nihilist agenda, punctuating rousing electric guitar and synth riffs in that trademark multi-syllabic yap.


Title track ‘Back to the Sagas’ continues the candid lyrical theme and, in some detail, describes conflicts with management and Kyza’s surprise departure from Terra Firma. The rolling snare drums and orchestral stabs lend a military theme to the production, evident in varying degrees on ‘Get it Too’, ‘Repping Hard’ and the excellent ‘Soon Come’.

Not only does the dramatic instrumentation provide real depth to the music, rekindling the warm, analogue feel of his debut, it bolsters Klash’s combative tone and revolutionary sentiments. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on ‘Keep It Moving’ whereby the buoyant, summery beat gives real motion to a flurry of gritty observational prose.


Soviet sing-along ‘Klash Anthem’ offers some respite from the serious tone, adding a vein of boisterous humour to proceedings, even if its playback appeal may dwindle over time. The same can also be said about CB4-sampling ‘Music Game’; an 8-bit analysis of the music industry that, whilst cheery, seems at odds with the rest of the album.

Protest song ‘Raw’ brings ‘Back to the Sagas’ to a neat conclusion, and serves a poignant reminder of what Klashnekoff is capable of when in his niche. Whilst ‘Lionheart’, in its attempt to capture a clubbier, more accessible sound obscured the MC, ‘Back to the Sagas’ foregrounds his lyrical talent with layered, soulful and arguably more traditional Boom-Bap production.

Yes, some of the features and speech samples are superfluous, but these are significant of an artist that wants to say something through music, not merely spit for the sake of industry props or fleeting internet praise. ‘Back to the Sagas’ is a reaffirmation of Klashnekoff’s talents and although the ‘Sagas’ bar may not have been raised this time round, it has certainly been nudged.

Buy ‘Back to the Sagas’:

Hit Klashnekoff up on Twitter:



The ‘Klashnekoff Appreciation’ Post

July 30, 2009

In 2004, as 50 began his carbine-round rise to superstardom and the Dirty South started grabbing attention, I switched my musical focus to UK rap. Following what was happening stateside grew increasingly tedious. US rap became greedy and predictable and, much like a child with ADHD, obsessed with anything new and shiny, regardless of substance or merit. Later, when Lil’ Jon, the embodiment of lazy, MTV media hype, was propelled into pop culture for shouting a series of simple affirmatives, I decided enough was enough.

Buying narcissistic MC’s CD’s, only to hear them battle an invisible opponent, or affirm some self perpetuated macho image, or say how much more money they have than me for 35 minutes, was no longer the one. I started looking for music that was a little closer to home, not just geographically, but lyrically and conceptually. I needed something that would tickle my teenage sense of rebellion. Through Dre I quickly discovered an MC from Hackney called Klashnekoff and bought his debut release, The Sagas.

Sagas (which when I last looked on Amazon was on sale for £25) changed my whole outlook on rap music. There was a ferociously rebellious and yet conscious energy at its heart, the kind all good rap music has, and it wasn’t tied up in Wu-Tang gangsterisms or Post-Civil Rights protest, a la Public Enemy. Its organic sound, sorely lacking from rap music at the time, made Klashnekoff’s descriptions of claustrophobic urban life, modern relationships, hate, promise and death seem all the more heartfelt and real. Even Murda, a song described by Klashnekoff himself as ‘very obvious’, has more lyrical depth to it than most rap artists’ albums.

For me, The Sagas Of Klashnekoff set the bar for UK rap, a bar that hasn’t been raised since. So, with news of a new Klashnekoff album on the way and an impending interview with the man himself after recording of said album is finished, I thought I’d take time here to reflect over his career so far, and showcase some of his biggest tunes, and most inspirational pieces to date.