Eighth Letter releases new album 'Far Too Close' with an all-star cast of Orlando MCs

click to enlarge Eighth Letter releases new album 'Far Too Close' - Photo by Fernanda Isayyid
Photo by Fernanda Isayyid
Eighth Letter releases new album 'Far Too Close'

Although he runs in heavy rap circles, Orlando producer Eighth Letter usually rides solo on hip-hop’s fringe where it meets electronic music, specializing in abstract instrumentals that are a combination of beat science and space transmissions. His new album, however, is a very different matter.

The 10-track Far Too Close LP finds Eighth Letter rolling unusually deep with a star-studded cast of local hip-hop luminaries. More than half the album features guest vocalists, including Acey Wasuto, Leroy Sly and especially Sean Shakespeare, who makes four cameos. With all the vocals adding humanity and edge, this is, unsurprisingly, Eighth Letter’s most alive work yet. It’s also his most hip-hop album. While his solo astral voyages continue here, the producer strikes common ground when he’s got rap company.

The album’s best moments are with Shakespeare, a clear sign of the budding chemistry between them (Eighth Letter and Shakespeare have recently been performing as a duo named DNA). The breezy “Kinetics,” in which Shakespeare sings rather than raps, showcases a different side for both artists. “Long Tooth,” however, is pure hip-hop synergy, with Shakespeare’s jumping cadence perfectly punctuating the big slap of Eighth Letter’s beat.

Far Too Close is both Eighth Letter’s most accessible and best work to date. It now streams everywhere and is even available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.

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About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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