Definition Of Sound are the freshest new faces in rap music — stylish, innovative, and not a little crazy.
Craig McLean wonders what debt they owe to Van Morrison.
‘Wc try to stress in interviews that the album isn‘t “Wear Your Love Like Heaven“ ten times over. It‘s a diverse album. each track is a separate entity — but there‘s a continuing thread to it. So people might have a problem with us. but we‘re only being honest with ourselves.‘
In the world of Definition OfSound. honesty is verily the best policy. Kevwon lays the duo‘s chart-bustin‘ ethos on the line: if they like something. they‘ll listen to it; and if they listen to it. then it‘s fair game for sampling. From a ragbag ofsources and an openness of mind. Definition Of Sound are fashioning an agenda for today. and more importantly. for the next day too. ‘Now Is Tomorrow‘ as their single goes.
‘We listen to a lot of things and we‘re just utilising them.‘ says Kev. ‘And because we listen to so many different things. it would have been insane for us to go in and make an album like Ice Cube‘s. We‘re not Big Daddy Kane. A lot ofthe hardcore fraternity have a bit of a problem with us — we‘re probably the coolest thing to diss right now because we‘re just different. and because the wider public have picked up on us. We‘re not into segregation in music at all. Anybody can get into it.‘
Right here. right now. Definition OfSound are the freshest rap breeze around. With a stylish ﬂair born of an all-conquering irreverance. the London boys have blown open the stale mechanics of the entire scene. not just in the UK context. but in the wider, transatlantic sphere too. Along with compadres like Stereo MCs and MC Buzz B. Definition Of Sound have taken an originally US idiom. and apportioned it for themselves. But as far as being the standard-bearers of a Brit movement of rapping innovation goes. Kevwon is not a little wary ofthe burden of accolades: ‘We‘ve kinda been given the task of breaking barriers as far as English rap is concerned. but we just want the album to stand as a good piece of music. But it is reflective of the changes that have happened — if it wasn‘t for the Soul II Soul explosion. I don‘t think there would have been room for groups like , us. That‘s the only thing that‘s a little bit scary.
I There are a lot of record companies that see the ‘ dance market untapped. and put money into it and
i } ﬂood it. I‘m really worried that it might have 3 reached saturation point.‘
7OThe List 281une— 11 July 1991
ILISTINGS: GLASGOW 71 EDINBURGH 72
Love & Life: A Journey With The Chameleons. Kevwon and partner Don‘s album. needn‘t worry about being swamped in a crowded market. Featuringthe swinging (ills/90s groove of the mighty ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven‘ and the ringing soul clarity ofthe (failed) follow-up ‘Now Is Tomorrow‘. this is the duo‘s wild and crazy imaginations made real. While Kevwon waxes lyrical about Cream and Blind Faith and PM Dawn in the same breath. the album pays homage to Van the Manfwith its inventive usage of'l‘hem‘s ‘Gloria‘. and to the ramshackle garage thrash of The Hombres “Let It All Hang Out.‘ Compared with the insular attitude of much dance music when it comes to inspiration and inﬂuences. this makes Definition Of Sound all the more attractive a proposition.
‘Insular. . .‘ ponders Kevwon. ‘It does tend to run around in its own backyard a bit. But there are new things happening. it is branching out. Rap music. ifI take that away from dance music. it always regenerates itself. it‘s always reborn. It re-creates itselfevery six months. But dance music itself is coming away from just four on the floor beats. just noise— ‘cos it was getting a real rock attitude‘. he says with obvious distaste. ‘where it was just noisy. Now it‘s getting back to more song-type things.‘
Considering that many of the songs on the album are over two years old. their contemporary zest enthrals even more. The next album. practically
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: FAVOURITE SOUNDS FROM MARMALADE SKIES O CLUB NEWS
Deliniiion oi Sound: nothing if not deep ready to go as we speak according to Kevwon. will take it even further. "I‘here‘s gonna be some interesting things there — we‘ll keep on going back to the roots of things. We‘re very careful to tread that thin line between something sounding too old and something sounding too new. There‘s things that will surprise some people. unusual tracks that are quite obvious but unusual for a rap group to use.‘
Equally unusual for a rap group is the concept of the live ‘gig‘ scenario. Not for Definition OfSound the trickery and fakery ofthe PA circuit. Despite the marked failure ofthe Dream Warriors ‘live‘ experience. our heroes are determined to prove that they can cut it on stage as well as cut tracks in the studio. This. though. is different from the Canadians and indeed. the De La Soul approach — the similarly eclectically inclined gurus.
‘What a lot ofpeople failed to realise about these two is that the root ofwhat they‘re doing is hardcore rap. and the fundamentals of that are two turntables and a microphone. What we‘re saying is that the basics ofour album are “real” music. so it would have been silly for us to go out with just a DJ. There‘s a real band vibe to this. We‘ll just see how it transfers.‘
Check out the Definition OfSound ‘real live band vibe' at Glasgow '5 Tunnel on 29’June, as part ofan Ibiza Weekend featuring Euro 01.9. Paul ()akenfold (TBC) and Paradise Orchestra.