Oloff is definitely no stranger to this type of conceptual release, having also broken new ground with Public Domain, a collection of songs using samples from the public domain, with and the title serving as a sort of double entendre reflecting anxieties about being in the public sphere. That highly original piece prompted Notodo to refer to him as “one of the most unique voices of European urban music”, and his latest work certainly goes a long way toward vindicating that claim.
The songs on Boxed In are all self-produced, as are the three accompanying videos. The first one, I Want A Proper Space, is a laid-back track with an undercurrent of sort of wistful longing. It’s a slow piece delivered in a kind of gravelly tone that makes for very easy listening. The lyrics veer between darkly comedic, poetic, and matter of fact.
The second track, Boxed In, is a sort of drawn out, downbeat daydream, ruminating on depression and self-imposed limitations, with samples from Modest Mouse and Alex Gibney’s Going Clear. The video is a sort of psychedelic mashup of screens, playing on the idea of being Boxed In.
Video number three is a sort of throwback piece with a nostalgic and uplifting feel, shot in VHS style. Hyena takes the problems expressed on the first two tracks and turns them into motivation, and resolves to remain commited to this lifestyle regardless of what life throws in the way.
The full EP is available for download for free on bandcamp, but the idea was to create something that can also work as a sort of longform visual piece as well. It’s one of many conceptual pieces Oloff has made, and appears to have cemented as his spot as the most interesting and innovative underground rapper around.