After 20 years in the game, alternative hip-hop artist Aesop Rock (not to be confused with A$AP Rocky) knows that simply streaming a new album online isn’t a big deal anymore. It takes a little more to get the internet’s attention these days. Hot on the heels of Lemonade, Rock has released his own visual album of sorts for his latest release, The Impossible Kid. A YouTube video posted to the Rhymesayers Entertainment channel includes the audio for all 15 tracks from the album, accompanied by a 48-minute, shot-for-shot recreation of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining done with wooden dolls by director Rob Shaw. Apart from some lyrical references to the rapper’s own rambunctious youth, which he did not spend in an isolated mountain resort in Colorado, there is no obvious or hidden connection between the audio and the video here. The action onscreen is not timed to the music in any noticeable way, other than the fact they start and end at roughly the same time. The video is more like a twofer: Listen to the music and watch the pictures, but don’t expect the two to sync up.
It might require two brains to concentrate fully on the plot of The Shining while listening to The Impossible Kid in its entirety. Rock’s lightning-fast rapping contains so many clever rhymes and pop culture allusions that it demands the listener’s attention on its own. Meanwhile, a tiny, wooden Jack Nicholson is stalking the halls of the Overlook while construction paper blood emerges from a doll house-sized elevator. It’s a lot to take in for 48 minutes. With their perfectly spherical heads and limbless, cylindrical bodies, the dolls in Shaw’s film may not seem at first to be the most versatile or expressive of performers. But the director gets a lot out of them, giving them expressions with daubs of paint and scraps of felt. Low tech as it is, this remake of The Shining is a work of incredible ingenuity. For those who want more of Rock’s music, the rapper hits the road next month with Rob Sonic and Homeboy Sandman.
[via The Overlook Hotel]