Othello Is More Than Alive At The Assembly Line

So in the past I’ve been pretty down on Othello’s solo career. In my eyes Othello’s debut album Elevator Music wasn’t a step in the right direction for the artist. And I based my opinion of Othello based on that album. I still love Othello as an artist (especially his guest appearances) I just wasn’t feelin’ the production for the most part. However it is my pleasure to say that Alive at the Assembly Line is a very creative album that has a sound I’ve never heard before. So let’s get live and jump in line.

Usually when I listen to an album (a HHH album to be exact) I usually feel the need to some introspection or I feel motivated to try something I was scared of before listening to the album. After listening to Othello’s sophomore album Alive At the Assembly I felt happy (sounds weird) but I just felt happy to be alive the sounds and production behind this album are genius. Elevator Music was more hip hop with a touch of jazz, which in my opinion didn’t work. So Othello switched it, Alive At the Assembly Line is mostly jazz with a touch of hip hop and works like a well-oiled machine.

Othello takes what worked on Elevator Music (with the mostly hip hop and some jazz) and then implicated his own sound in to the rest of the album. “Let’s Just” the single off the album (which he also made a music video for) is the example of the more hip hop and less jazz that works. It’s energetic track that said “hey love life and relax”.

“Place to be” and “Alive at the Assembly Line” is where the new sound comes in and it is amazing. The sound reminds me of going to an old school jazz club and having Othello step up and come with the rhymes. It’s a combo that works and a combo I’ve never heard before. The title track of the album features Tunnel Rat member Propaganda and Lifesavas member Vursatyl. What makes the track pleasing to the ear is the piano playing in the background, Jazz fans will love this track.

The next track “Cycle” features Surreal and shows the lyricism that both emcees have. The song is as the title states, for the most part life is a “Cycle” and it’s God that carries us through this “Cycle” and though it repeats we should enjoy it. Another unique characteristic this album contains is the instrumental segments there in between verses, or when the song ends you get a good minute, minute and a half to enjoy the sounds you just heard, it’s those instrumental pieces that have me asking for an instrumental version of this album. The best example of this is “Peripheral Drift” you get a solid 3-4 minutes of pleasant sounding jazz instrumentals. I found myself playing back those instrumentals numerous times.

The track “Shallow” also shows the lyricism talent of Othello, him and Pigeon John of L.A Symphony (who is featured on the track) cover the shallowness of people when it comes to relationships. Whether it’s shallow based upon looks, shallow based upon money, shallow relationships equals not good (that’s shallow=NG). The way Pigeon John handles this track does so well it’s like if any other emcee was on the track it wouldn’t have been as good.

Othello finishes the album with his Lightheaded brothers doing the track “Fly”. Othello’s sophomore effort is a about 20 steps in the right direction. Othello took a very creative approach to this album, this album is for hip hop heads, but I believe Jazz fans would love this album too. Othello has a new project (with DJ Vajra) coming out soon and I’m very excited to see what Othello does with this next release.


A very creative album
The idea of more jazz and less hip hop WORKS WELL!
The minutes of instrumental rock
Production is Great!


Lacks a little bit of energy (but take that with a grain of salt because Jazz doesn’t always have energy…no I’m not dissing Jazz)

Rating: 4/5 (Jazz and Hip Hop=WIN!/Creative Album!)

If You Can’t Buy The Album Download These Songs

Shallow feat. Pigeon John
Fly feat. Lightheaded
Peripheral Drift
Place to Be
Shoot Past

~ by Michael Stover on May 28, 2009.

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