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Roebus One - Into the Diorama Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 6
Production 6
Creativity 7
Lasting Value 6
Reviewer Tilt 5.5
Final Verdict: 64%
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Roebus One - Into the Diorama

Reviewed by: Nathan Tompkins (02/27/12)
Roebus One - Into the Diorama
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: August 2, 2011

Converging separate forms of artistic expression has never proved an easy task. For many artists the ideal of growing or “maturing”, as many often cite it, has always been the charming and pragmatic way forward. Take Biffy Clyro’s steady climb from raucous, grizzly Nirvana-bred Grunge to sensible, radio-friendly Alt-Rock for instance, or the journey of a band such as Talk Talk, whose risqué transition from straight-up 80s alternatives into more progressive and brazen electronic territory is looked upon now as one of the most calculated and acclaimed subversions in music history. The concept of starting in one definitive position before carefully engaging the next has more than often been the norm of development within artistic counter-culture. Roebus One, however, is part of the minority who are prone to kicking such legitimate crosses down as he continues to perfect his art through the incorporation and interference of varied musical characteristics.

Keeping the giants of aforementioned strategies content though, ‘Into the Diorama’ (the second album from Pennsylvania-based solo Hip-Hop outfit Roebus One) remains relatively reserved when it comes to passing these diverse ranges off as one freshly sprouted, hybrid critter. Instead, we are faced with a recording devised by certain cliques of genre crossover. The gnarly, bass-heavy grandiose of sisters ‘To Whom This May Concern’ and ‘Nimrod Flipout’ for example, play the static R ‘n B card, whilst later tracks such as ‘Helium’ and ‘Audience of One’ tamper with an appealing Nu-Metal backdrop that wouldn’t be out of place on a hypothetical Mike Shinoda four-track demo, if one were to ever surface of course. That’s not to say that such stylistic knit-picking brings to focus any extreme contrasts in the effects the record has on its studious listener though. In fact Roebus excels himself the most through his capability to balance and present this musical diversity with such divine and slender self-confidence. And even though his wish to persist on letting us in on his favourite artists and their definitive hits through innumerable references to popular culture gets a little repetitive and even sleazy on minor occasions (“all possessions pawned, though I re-spawn Chemical Romance / and I’m sick of dancing to the same songs” to reiterate), the masterful level of aplomb in which it is delivered is still undeniably engaging and resilient.

Roebus One has conceived a record that works an urgent magic through the fusing together of urban underground intelligence and creative, concentrated song writing. That’s my penultimate declaration. Now do the man justice and jump the record up a few titles in your list of albums to check out this year. Nathan Tompkins

Recommended If You LikeFort Minor, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Odd Future, RZA, Meteora-era Linkin Park

Displaying posts 1 - 3 of 3
03:26 AM on 03/04/12
Sensez Fail
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Sensez Fail's Avatar
Nice. Roeb is my dude in real life, watched him rock many live shows and he's a real cultural cat right down to the essence. If I was you I would have put Cage circa Depart From me & P.O.S. under the RIYL. If you're up on the NJ Underground scene you'd realize how much he sounds like Tab from Dead Poets too. I don't know how familiar you are with his actual art like canvas paintings and shit but he's an extremely dope actual artist as well.

Solid review overall, I would have went mid 70s with my review but way to give some exposure.


His whole album is on there for anyone wanting to check it out.
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