Inhabiting the same orbit as such far out genre benders as Why?, Chance the Rapper and Shabazz Palaces, experimental hip hop duo Times Neue Roman are decidedly on their own planet. With stream of consciousness flow, Casio beats and an everything goes, genre hopscotch aesthetic, Times Neue Roman and their new LP Vehicle, available November 6th, are the soundtrack to an unwritten future. Propulsive debut single “So Many Females” is the perfect entrée into the world of Times Neue Roman; a pounding, trippy ode to everything unspoken in a relationship, and the secrets and insecurities you sense, but rarely acknowledge.
In regards to their sound, Times Neue Roman refuses to be pigeonholed. “The tradition in rap is obvious but from that foundation, we’ll go anywhere,” explains the duo. “We play live with non-rap acts as much as with rap acts. And we’re comfortable with that. Genre-violence is a good thing.” Fittingly, the duo, comprised of writer/vocalist Robert Bolton (Arowbe) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Alexander Punzalan Junior (Alexander The), met at a screening of the animated science-fiction film A Scanner Darkly. That chance encounter has led to three digital EPs, one seven-inch vinyl, one 12” inch remix, and an album-length cassette, packaged in a working walkman, hand-painted with the band’s logo, batteries included. Their Talking Sporty EP (YYZ Records, 2010) came out as a mobile app, and their single “Roq Roq” was initially released through the EA Sports video game,Fight Night Round 4.
For their debut LP Vehicle, Times Neue Roman have simultaneously looked forward and backward, propelled by perpetual motion. The duo have built a brand new media platform for the aptly-titled Vehicle, a custom experience that presents the album as digital art object, replicating the experience of physically experiencing classically designed album jackets of the past. “It turned out to be a very sensual album from start to finish,” recalls the duo. “We didn’t plan that. There’s also a lot of 90s nostalgia in there that wasn’t actually all that deliberate. The album is kind of a requiem for driving music. So we were thinking about the experience riding around in an automobile, either alone or with a friend or lover, playing tunes.”