Steve Magee throws in his two cents on Kero One’s Windmills of the Soul.

Kero One, Windmills of the Soul (2005), Hip-hop, Plug Music

Windmills of the Soul is a part of an elevation of hip-hop that has been in the works since the genre originated. The intro track sets the mood for the album, “Sometimes I like to just like to sit back relax and recline, listen to tunes and cool out… these are the windmills of my soul.” Listening to the album is like being a windmill. The combination of jazz and rap keeps the listener locked in on a sound which floats on the rhythm and beats. Listening is like standing in a stream and having the music float by at a rate that it is effortless to absorb. You can feel it passing over you, slightly resisting. Inside of you the lyrics spin and mill and at once you are ground into the music and are absorbed in it. The lyrics come at a pace which ties you to them instead of losing you. Everything about it is organic and obeys a natural logic.

Instead of dragging you through the mud or pulling you out of the music when the lyrics turn to the harder reality of life, Kero’s words are honest and powerful without lying or patronizing the listener. It lacks the materialism and violence of some rap and hip-hop and some may argue because of this it lacks the brutal reality, but I ask: do the basest parts of life really have to be engaged at their own level to be engaged honestly? Kero’s lyrics suggest what his music directly conveys, that a soul should be at balance and rest regardless of what reality actually forces upon us.

In this lies the true beauty of Windmills of the Soul, which is that it’s enjoyable whether you’re looking to be engaged by the lyrics or not. Even if you tune out the words Kero blends with the music and his voice is just another instrument. In the middle of winter when the pool is too cold to go swimming this album gives me one more place to float. If you haven’t listened to it I recommend you pick it up if you in any way enjoy life or good things.

stephen magee