The Big Mackoofy – The Numbers Factory

 The Big Mackoofy – The Numbers Factory

The Big Mackoofy – The Numbers Factory – Album Review

I’ll fully admit to the fact that I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was about to listen to for once.  The Big Mackoofy?  What the heck is that supposed to be?  Usually I can kinda tell what something is gonna be, whether it’s Punk, Metal, R&B or otherwise…but The Big Mackoofy?  Felt like that could have been anything.  To say I was pleasantly surprised by this whole record would be a serious understatement.

As it started up with “Ignorance Kills (Fire And Rain)” you can instantly feel the creativity in the air with the surging sounds of electricity…I loved the music in this track from the very first spin, and now here I am, several spins later, still lovin’ every second of it.  Plus you get the rap goin’ on from the main man himself.  The Big Mackoofy has got a tremendous combination of swagger, style, and substance all on display at once…I mean, it’s crazy…”Ignorance Kills (Fire And Rain)” is actually pretty controlled and subdued in many ways, but it stands out without question.  That’s the genuine effect of music that’s interesting on every level though y’all…it’s not something that’ll need to punch you in the face for your attention – tracks like “Ignorance Kills (Fire And Rain)” EARN it by giving your ears something substantial that they WANT to listen to.  It’s almost like the same effect that a great mystery has on ya when you’re watching…like, you keep listening to this opening track, because you gotta know how it all plays out.

Overall, the first cut could probably have used another notch or two in volume, but whatever, it’s not too big a deal aside from that the next track “And The Waters Getting Higher” will probably make ya jump on that initial spin because it gets louder than you’re likely preparing for.  Same thing though – this is absolutely compelling stuff to listen to…no rap this time, but TONS of creativity, innovation, and LIFE in its veins.  We’re talkin’ like…something you’d find in the work of RJD2 or Prefuse 73…titans of the scene that bring the flavor to your speakers, just like The Big Mackoofy is with this second track.  It’s got Jazz and Soul to it…a clear Electro-based vibe tying it all together…a bright & sunshiny disposition, at least until the sirens start up…what else can be said?  It feels GOOD to listen to a track like “And The Waters Getting Higher” – this song FEELS fresh AF in every way, and you’ll wanna turn this UP even louder than it all started because of that; this second cut straight outta the gate puts you in party mode!

I promise you, by the time you hit that smooth saxophone sample and the synthetic background swirling around it on “Who Is Rastafari?” you’ll probably feel just like I did about this record in that there ain’t NOTHING coming between me and listening to the rest of what’s happening on The Numbers Factory.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ve already read the glowing things I had to say about the first two tracks – I’ve clearly been enjoying myself right from the get-go, but “Who Is Rastafari?” somehow took this experience to a level beyond.  I’d put this cut right up there with the very best I’ve heard this year, instrumental or otherwise.  I suppose “Who Is Rastafari?” is a bit of a hybrid by the time it’s all said & done with its Spoken Word sample appearing in the final couple minutes…but you get the idea, we’re not talkin’ about rappin’ or singing…this is sonic ART in so many ways, and I’m absolutely STOKED about what I’ve been hearing from The Big Mackoofy on this record so far.  No joke folks, you have a listen to “Who Is Rastafari?” for yourself and you’ll realize this is the kind of album you gotta tell someone else about too, know what I mean?  You just can’t keep music THIS amazing all to yourself, you gotta share the wealth!  No matter how many times I spun my way through this record, I kept coming back to “Who Is Rastafari?” as one of the most complete tracks on the album, and definitely one of my own favorites.

Then “Horizon” keeps the party goin’ with the click of the electronic hi-hats and the beautiful shimmer of some guitar in the mix for ya.  The Big Mackoofy doesn’t always use vocals, as you’ve read so far, but when he does on tracks like the album opener & again here on “Horizon,” I’d say he could probably bump them up just a bit in the mix so that we can absorb the words a bit more easily.  That being said, a lot of what you’ll hear in “Horizon” is in a different language than English, but I feel like the point remains the same regardless…it’s one thing to whisper and I get that as an accent to the vibe of the music overall, but by the same token, you wanna make sure that what you’re adding to the music, really does add to the music, you feel me?  Otherwise you run the risk of whatever that element may be becoming a potential distraction from the rest…subtraction, rather than addition…you get it.  I wouldn’t say The Big Mackoofy has gone fully overboard with “Horizon,” but it’s something to keep to be mindful of…add everything you put in with confidence, conviction, and purpose.  The flipside of the coin is that a lot of great stuff out there doesn’t always have the vocals up directly in the spotlight…the effect is that it makes the music become larger as a result, which ain’t necessarily a bad thing at all.  I dig “Horizon” for its chilled out Spoken Word theme, and the stylistic blend of the music The Big Mackoofy’s got goin’ on.

“Soul Vampire” is a perfect example of what I was talkin’ about earlier in how to add vocals into the mix – this is what things should sound like in my opinion…I felt like this came out spot-on from the lead to the effect-laden supporting samples in the hooks.  I dig the energy in this track!  I don’t know that it quite rose to the level of interest that the first four tracks generated for me, but we’re splitting hairs – I’m still absolutely loving what I hear.  It’s only by comparison to the rest of what The Big Mackoofy has put out there on this record so far that “Soul Vampire” pales a bit, despite its lively energy and presence.  I’m certainly not complaining y’all, so don’t go twisting my words.  If the beginning of The Numbers Factory wasn’t so bulletproof, we’d be having a totally different conversation, I assure you.  If you wanna blame ME for The Big Mackoofy having come out of the gate so damn strong, you’re more than welcome to…I’ve got broad shoulders and I can handle it.  I’m not talking about anything so detrimental to the lineup overall, just the slightest of dips and only by comparison.  The reality is, if “Soul Vampire” was on most albums, it’d be an easy A-side…here on The Numbers Factory, it’s closer to a B, but that’s only because the rest of what you’ve heard to this point is so universally kickass.  “Soul Vampire is close to that same level, maybe just a percentage or two less is all…trust me, this album will make it up later.

What I love about every track you’ll find on The Numbers Factory, “Soul Vampire” included, is that you’ve got a record here that offers your ears something highly different than the rest of what’s out there right now for the most part, and The Big Mackoofy deserves real credit for being able to blaze his own hybrid trail in order to carve out his own place in the scene.  Like, when I was listening to “Bobby,” one of the very first things I thought to myself was, “I’ll remember this album” – and I cannot stress enough just how little I think that thought throughout the course of any given year.  This far into my career, I know full well that most music ends up in the void and it’s just a few names that continue to stand out over the test of time…and I know that The Big Mackoofy will be one of’em.  “Bobby” is a fun tune…actually reminds me of something along the lines of “Mr. E” by The Getaway People from back in the day, know what I mean?  Probably not…fairly obscure reference, and it actually applies more to the way they played it live than it came out on the recorded version.  Anyhow…”Bobby” is slick and smooth entertainment…the kind of cut that I’d imagine most folks out there are guaranteed to dig on overall.  Contrast reigns supreme too…the song sounds a lot more upbeat & fun than the theme does when you listen to the lyrics up close…but yeah…it’s the kind of concept that would fly right over most people’s heads unless they’re giving this cut their full attention.  If they don’t, it’s just the colorful vibe they’ll hear.  Nothing wrong with that of course…we all connect with different parts and pieces of music, and the way I’ve always seen it is that as long as you give people a chance to get invested in it, that’s a win.

I felt like “Socialist State” was going to be one of those tracks that almost couldn’t help but define the album in one way or the other…like, I was sure that The Big Mackoofy was probably gonna get all kinds of political here, but it didn’t play out nearly in the way that I thought it would.  I wouldn’t say that he’s not making a few points here and there, but he’s almost used the word “Socialist” in a more playful way, like as in a reference to social media and how we choose to use it, how it constrains us, how it puts up walls around us that we try not to acknowledge…it’s quite the clever tune when it comes right down to it, and one of the raddest grooves you’ll find on the record all-around.  We’re talkin’ about a THICC sound here y’all…and as addictive as sound can be – it ended up being another one of my favorite tracks on this album without a doubt.  Vocals are used brilliantly here, not only for the cleverness of the lyricism, but for the hooks you’ll find as well…and no matter what side of the political fence you might find yourself on these days, the rallying cry of “give me back my freedom” is something that we’d all connect with in our own way from our own perspectives.  Absolutely solid stuff from start to finish on “Socialist State” if you ask me…The Big Mackoofy has almost got a Michael Hutchence level of cool goin’ on in this track, and c’mon y’all…those bass-line grooves are STAGGERINGLY awesome.  You combine those with the vocal rhythm and the clever electro additions around’em, and it’s good game folks – if you can resist “Socialist State,” I’ll fully salute you as being made of a different kind of mettle than me.

“Open Up My Life – No Judgement” starts out feeling like it’s gonna be one of the deep cuts you find on a record.  Like, let’s be real here…everything we’ve heard so far could practically be a single to a degree, so slowing things down for a moment or two was bound to happen at some point, if only for a reset to allow the record to ramp up for a finale in its conclusion.  I felt like coming after “Socialist State” would likely prove to be the toughest spot in this lineup to fill anyway, at the very least next to coming after “Who Is Rastafari?” earlier on.  “Horizon” managed to succeed in its impossible task, but I’m not so convinced that “Open Up My Life – No Judgement” achieved the same goal as definitively.  It’s a decent tune, don’t get me wrong…if you appreciate your textures, tones, production, and creativity and all that, even on the inside of a slow jam, there’s lots here for you to love, and it’s arguably pretty intense for a mellower tune as well.  Does it rise up to the level of the rest of the material?  That’s gonna be the point of debate for listeners out there, and to be truthful, I don’t completely know where I land on the issue either.  On the one hand, it’s still a quality cut…on the other, it’s not bringing that same energetic spark as the rest of the material does for me…”Open Up My Life – No Judgement” is still an inspired tune, just inspired in an altogether different way, you follow me?  So I could see this going both ways for listeners out there…some might enjoy the departure and a track like this bringing a totally different vibe to the album, and others might feel the lineup would be more cohesive without it.  I still enjoyed it personally.

“Moroccan” however, felt like it was straight-up universal as universal could possibly be!  Y’ain’t resisting this track, are ya?  Nah…c’mon now…that’s the vibe right there, ain’t it?  There’s a very good chance this cut rounds out my top three and joins “Who Is Rastafari?” & “Socialist State” – “Moroccan” is debatably THAT awesome.  The Big Mackoofy has an incredible grip on what captures the attention of our ears and brainwaves with ease, and the remarkable execution you’ll hear in his music certainly gives you the impression this dude could make the magic happen all day, every day.  In the case of this track, he’s even giving you a stellar selection of cross-cultural sound when it comes right down to it, and it’s definitely something that works.  The rhythm and groove here is intense, powerful, and laden with character…”Moroccan” has an incredible level of personality, and The Big Mackoofy achieves that without the use of a single word.  This dude has got a remarkable gift when it comes to generating real diversity and cohesion in his material all at once, which is by no means any kind of small achievement.  The efforts don’t go unnoticed here…I’m endlessly impressed by The Numbers Factory and its set-list.

Going in a more laidback direction, “Crystal Magic X (Song For Ashara)” is another huge winner on this record.  Personally, I love the way this cut is mixed and the way that it’s structured…there’s such a solid use of space and pace on this tune that The Big Mackoofy should definitely be proud of how “Crystal Magic X (Song For Ashara)” has come out with such an impressive connection between patience and intensity.  From the melodic mellowness, to the staunch conviction it’s played with…it’s really one of those songs that you can point to that’s as enticing & entertaining as it is endearing & enthralling – none of which is exactly easy to do, yet our main man here has pulled it off with seamless ideas and flawless flow.  When it comes to this particular track, I dig the chilled-out nature of it for sure…but the melody and the rhythm, the composition and the mix…everything seems to play a starring role and be in the right place at the right time.  It’s got character to it, you know?  I almost expected Everlast to come poppin’ out for a guest appearance to tell me “What It’s Like” somewhere in the thick of “Crystal Magic X (Song For Ashara)” – and I mean that in the best of ways.  I might not be the world’s biggest Everlast fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I can certainly recognize the massive hit of a song he had on his hands there & the vibe you get in listening to “Crystal Magic X (Song For Ashara)” ain’t far removed.

You start to get the sense that The Big Mackoofy definitely had an understanding of how he wanted to approach the final third of this album, and he’s really brought a conclusive set of songs to create a finale to remember.  “Revolutionary Radio, Santiago De Cuba” is straight up exquisite to listen to y’all…another smart, hybrid blend of cross-cultural sound that works brilliant magic through your speakers to create yet another irresistible highlight on The Numbers Factory.  I freakin’ LOVE this tune…and between the last three I’ve listened to, “Moroccan,” “Crystal Magic X (Song For Ashara)” and “Revolutionary Radio, Santiago De Cuba,” I really couldn’t tell ya which belongs with “Who Is Rastafari?” and “Socialist State” to create my ultimate top three.  Can I get a top five in this instance?  Why not right?  Even then, even if I admit to liking five tracks a bit more than the rest in this lineup of twelve, I’ve still gotta acknowledge that the rest really ain’t all that far behind.  The Big Mackoofy has got one genuinely solid record when it comes to The Numbers Factory overall, and ultimately I think any set of ears giving it a listen would conclude the same.  “Revolutionary Radio, Santiago De Cuba” is another stellar example of how the man generates sincere interest through substantial material…I couldn’t take my own ears off of this one.  It’s a low-key energy, or so it seems…but that’s just the thing really – when you’re really paying attention to “Revolutionary Radio, Santiago De Cuba,” you realize The Big Mackoofy is seriously movin’ and groovin.’

While there’s a natural charm and sweetness to “Unassisted” that is different than the rest of the record, it’s a welcome final tune and smart last switch in the direction of the music at the end of The Numbers Factory.  I’m not gonna be the guy that’s gonna argue “Unassisted” will work its way into your top three, and I’m not here to tell ya it’s half as good as the three tracks that came directly before it – BUT…it does provide this album with a great set of bars and carries the weight of the final messages that The Big Mackoofy wants to get across before this experience is officially over.  It’s a very conclusive track that feels like we’ve reached the end when it comes around, and I like that kind of tune to finish any record personally.  “Unassisted” might not be your favorite tune of the bunch, or even your fifth for that matter – but it still has its own uniqueness and charm that’ll work its magic on ya, and it’s worth the listen for sure.  We’ve heard the most major strengths of The Numbers Factory all throughout the album – The Big Mackoofy chose to go in a more subtle direction to finish it off, and I felt like it was the right call.  All-in-all, this album is remarkably strong from beginning to end, and a must-have on your playlist in 2023…it’s creative, it’s diverse, it’s stunningly well executed, and it’s got a lil’ something for everyone.

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