Jacob Franklin is probably best known as the guitarist for local experimentalists Isness and sludgy doom purveyors Irreversible, but lately he’s been attempting to make a name for himself as a producer, working under the moniker Notarikon. In April he quietly released his debut EP, Left-Hand Path, and a couple of weeks ago he issued its follow-up, a split record with fellow Isness member Corey Brown who records under the name Inner Gate.
I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the depths of this record, but even a cursory listen reveals a rich, densely-layered approach that pulls liberally from a multitude of sounds—experimental hip-hop, dubstep, drone, metal, electronica and much more—and peppers it with samples, spoken word clips, field recordings and whatever the hell else Franklin can weave into his weighty compositions. The split’s second track, “A Living Anti-Life(form),” mutates like some free-flowing aural collage, moving from a bong hit to an ambient soundscape to a hypnotic hip-hop joint in the span of a minute. But it’s not until Clan Destined’s DT drops his first verse when things really coalesce and come to a head.
One of Atlanta’s finest voices, DT has always had a reputation for writing smart, observant, provocative rhymes and here he’s at the peak of his powers slinging an array of socio-political barbs and arrows that never fail to hit their mark. He’s so good, in fact, that he almost overshadows Franklin’s fantastic, highly-nuanced production. In the end, however, it all clicks together. This is definitely one you’ll want to take your time with, let it absorb and sink in. What you’ll find is one of the best local tracks so far this year.