Audio Mixer: Seiji Itaru Inouye.
Photographer: Jon Webb.
Coming out at a time when Kool Keith's release schedule had reached low gear, this 2015 LP is a collaboration with Nashville producer L'Orange, a Madlib-influenced artist who prefers his beats even more bent. The big draw is still the outlandish Keith, but here he's subdued and acting like a time-travel scientist. Rhymes such as "Even if the course is tilted, the navigation is there/I found my way in the atmosphere" ("This New World") and mantra-like choruses like "The Traveler/The process of continuation to move" ("The Traveler") make him sound like a Neil deGrasse Tyson figure, one who possesses all the knowledge but has little interest in communicating even the simplest idea to the outside world. Whatever is going on, only Keith knows for sure, and this time there's none of those amusing "space doo-doo pistols" that Dr. Octagon talked about, plus the praising of porno is less of an interest than before, so take the "seriousness" of this album into consideration. Also consider how L'Orange's beats are strange and attractive mutations and it's easy to see how Keith jumped into his Dr. Cyclops outfit so earnestly, plus if Time? Astonishing! is one of the most narrow albums in the rapper's catalog, it's also one of the shortest, offering this mad-scientist lark in a sensibly small package. Weird, yet for some Kool Keith fans, maybe not weird enough. ~ David Jeffries