After four years of independently released tracks that spread like wildfire across the web, Idle Warship will release their first official collection of songs entitled Habits of the Heart on November 1st, 2011, viaBlacksmith/Element 9/Fontana. The 12-track album has Idle Warship storming the music scene with a bold and indefinable mash-up of influences, from soul to hip-hip to alternative to electronic. Idle Warship brought an incredible range of musical sensibilities into the studio and we’ll venture to say that the output will completely blow your mind.
Idle Warship is a perfect example of how a whole can become greater than the sum of its parts – and that is saying quite a lot given the musical components of this project. A collaboration between longtime friends and collaborators, hip-hop luminary Talib Kweli and critically acclaimed soulful singer and songwriter Res, Idle Warship was born out of sheer experimentation in the studio. But some of the best things in life happen when least expected. When fans of Talib and Res heard and reacted to some online MP3s of what these two had created during their off-the-cuff sessions, it became clear that that something much bigger was brewing. Since making a huge splash at SXSW in 2009 and completing a successful European tour, Idle Warship made Party Robot – their mixtape with master DJ Mick Boogie and singer/songwriter Graph Nobel – available for free download in 2010. It only left the fans craving more, and now the wait is over!
With an obvious chemistry, a dedication to free creative expression and now a new album, Talib and Res’partnership has become a musical force to be reckoned with. Habits of the Heart effortlessly shifts from the rhythmic hand-clapping blast of “Laser Beams” (stream or embed the song here) to the off-kilter futuristic track “Driving Me Insane” to the unbridled, heartfelt piano ballad “Beautifully Bad.” With guest spots fromChester French and John Forte on “Covered in Fantasy,” and Michelle Williams on “Katya,” Habits of The Heart takes you on one thrilling journey.
Talib Kweli - Emcee/Vocalist
Res - Singer
Habits of the Heart (2011)
Laser Beams (2011)
Beautifully Bad (2012)
Habits of the Heart
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Though they’ve been around for a few years as a side project, Idle Warship are finally ready to rele...Though they’ve been around for a few years as a side project, Idle Warship are finally ready to release their first proper album, throwing down soul, hip-hop, alt-rock and electronica, the combination of which has built some momentum around this collaboration. Idle Warship tracks have been appearing across the interwebs since 2008, but judging by the direction of this first album collection, both Talib Kweli and R&B singer Res’ experimentation in the studio has unleashed a flurry of creativity that is debatably some of the strongest material of their respective careers. Songs like fist-pumping “The Floor” and the funky “God Bless My Soul” have the feel of crossover, club anthems thanks to an eclectic infusion of genres. Kweli and Res play off each other well and both go out of their respective comfort zones to unleash an album of experimental tunes that are creative, fun and suggest that these artists are even more talented than we may have thought before.
Habits of the Heart
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Though titled Habits of the Heart, the first official full length album from urban alternative dynam...Though titled Habits of the Heart, the first official full length album from urban alternative dynamic duo, Idle Warship could just as easily have been dubbed “Rhythm of the Heart.” A feverish dance floor opus, the album pounds, throbs and pulsates with the urgency of a desperate heart, combining raw emotion and intoxicating energy that can only come with the stimulation of the human body’s most resilient muscle.
Developed by free spirited soul siren Res, and stalwart rap veteran Talib Kweli through several years of live performances, Idle Warship began as an exercise in the type of musical eclecticism they displayed on 2009’s Party Robot mixtape. Habits of the Heart is powered by a more consistent aesthetic, mixing the trance-like synths of the ubiquitous “international” sound, dustily aggressive percussion and the frantically emotive vocals of Res into a neon hot digital soul gumbo. The opening notes of “Enemy” set a relentless pace for what unfolds as a mad dash down the path of the heart. From the intoxicating euphoria of the reggae tinged “God Bless My Soul” to the dizzying desperation of “Covered in Fantasy,” the album stays in motion through emotion.
Much of the album’s resonance comes from Res, who imbues every note with a raw throated brand of soul rarely seen in electronic music. Whether through guttural growls on “Laser Beams,” or plaintive pleas on “Are You In,” she always seems to be fighting against the emotional currents even as she tries to ride them to some kind of resolution. The same can’t be said for Kweli’s contributions, which, while generally competent, sometimes stray from the album’s themes and rarely match the visceral intensity of Res. In many ways, Habits of the Heart, with its guitar backed hooks and forays into abstraction, often feels more like a Res album on steroids featuring a rather wordy hypeman than a true collaboration.
Still, Habits of the Heart is a rarity: a pleasant surprise by a group from whom we expect the unexpected, and an experimental collection that keeps time with the most universal beat.
Album review: Idle Warship, Habits of the Heart
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If the first track of Habits of the Heart doesn't hook you, it's possible you don't have a soul. ...If the first track of Habits of the Heart doesn't hook you, it's possible you don't have a soul.
Idle Warship -- a partnership between hip-hop great Talib Kweli and singer/songwriter Res -- storm out of the gates on this album with an intense, Latin-flavored funk number titled “Enemy.” The piano and bass are vamping hard, the drums click a steady beat and a synth organ provides filler, while Res belts and Kweli is spitting rapid-fire rhymes with his famous flow. Wait -- was that a break with a two-second Zeppelin sample? I think so.
The duo lives up to the musical promises made in “Enemy” for the rest of the album. They blend hip-hop, soul, funk, rock and electro influences in a way that sounds organic -- an achievement that's especially satisfying since similar efforts from other artists can feel so forced. Gritty, heavy synths dominate “Katya,” while pure rock drumming drives “Are You In” and “Covered in Fantasy” highlights some seriously good rapping.
Idle Warship - Habits of the Heart
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You have now entered the renaissance world of love. And your one instruction is to, “Dance, dance, d...You have now entered the renaissance world of love. And your one instruction is to, “Dance, dance, dance.” Fact is, we all go through heartbreaks and ups and downs in relationships so why not add some electro-funk, a pinch of the 60’s, and a cosmic touch to the soundtrack of your loves demise? With Idle Warship, Talib Kweli and Res accompany you down your yellow brick road of falling in and out of love, hate, and angst on their album, Habitats of the Heart.
The album begins with “Enemy,” displaying Talib as quite the tyrant with his masochist choice of lyricism with Res as his submissive concubine. “You are not who you pretend to be/ That’s why you got suicidal tendencies/You need some therapy/You need to learn to do whatever your man say/ Bitch you better obey or I’ll beat that ass like Anne Mae.” The production has a new age Dracula sound and needless to say, this track reeks of Dysfunction 101 with a mixture of S&M.
As we continue to songs like “God Bless My Soul,” you encounter horns and drums that give off a sexy sophisticated vacation vibe making you want to grab that fly person you’ve been eyeing and dance a little bit too close. And Res expresses her knowledge of knowing she’s picking the wrong lover…may God help her. Next comes, “Are You In” where Res entices us with velvet voiced lover threats with her words “Everything is wandering in space/It could all, all go up in flames/ And I’d burn right down here with it/ here with you/ Everything is better than it seems.” The production is a twist of sophisticated funk with a blend of Rock n’ Roll. So dare you love and be the fool or not? How could you resist Res and Kay Cola?
Five tracks in and you become a “System Addict” as Jean Grae kick starts the track with some witty and extremely catchy wordplay. DJ Khalil once again produces a multi-layered melodic sensation of electro decadence that transitions between a dance and slow love song, leaving you in a subdued and slightly perplexed trance. “Laser Beams,” another electrifying yet pleasing melody, allows you to sonically explore a world somewhere between the 1960’s with a twist of 2022; a world filled with vivid imagery of, “ Black veils and pageant dreams/ mirrors and T.V. Screens/ your eyes are laser beams/ your moves like a trampoline/ and you don’t know where you disappeared.” As you do “the twist” on the skyline of sanity you can’t help but recall the reflection of a love gone sweetly-insane.
“Covered in Fantasy” features Chester French and John Forte that has multi-layered production giving you a badass phantom of the night feel that is smooth enough to drive and vent to. The lyrics are rather hard hitting with statements like, “And I know I’m not perfect/ but I know that I’m worth it/ Just scratch beneath the surface/I am me”. As we speed along to “Beautifully Bad,” you realize you have landed somewhere beyond this galaxy in the realm of a sunshine and amber energy. Then you cascade down back to earth and realize you enjoyed the experience of a love that will never be yours. You can thank the soft melody of keys and drums that engulf your pain. The lyrics are revelation based as Talib soulfully and reflectively rhymes “The music is moving me/ It’s like my heart need a eulogy/ Things are not what they used to be/ Cuz you don’t love me girl/ You used to me/ When I met you it was magic/We polar opposites/But attracted like we was magnets/ This was way before I had shit/ Way before attraction deteriorated to madness/
“Rat Race” encourages all of us living in wonderland to escape our everyday reality of “Running in the rat race” by dancing through colorful notes of guitar strings and cheers of encouragement. The last song to really break ground is “Driving Me Insane” where the electrifying vibes from the guitar give you chills, and enough to drive you insane in a good way.
Overall, the album is pretty stellar as Res and Kweli compliment one another nicely. The production is a layered starship, requiring numerous listens in order to grasp everything that is taking place. Lyrically, each song has double entendres, which were entertaining and at times disturbing. Certain songs take some time to grow on you, but the album embodies an electrifying persona leaving you in trance, whether you agree to be in one or not.
Idle Warship: Habits of the Heart
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Within the first five minutes of this album, we get to hear Talib Kweli express his desire to slap a...Within the first five minutes of this album, we get to hear Talib Kweli express his desire to slap a girl's bottom until it is swollen and red. Ouch! Don't worry; we're assured that she likes it.
The first release from Kweli's new project Idle Warship is chock full of craziness. With a unique blend of hip hop, soul, funk and indie rock, the high energy never relents. Thanks to the sultry and powerful vocals of Philadelphia singer Res, each song is a sweaty, sexy jam. Kweli makes a few quality appearances, but it's Res that steals the show. This is a good thing, though. Once you hear her sing on the first track, you'll be continuously impressed by her talents.
Basically, there's nothing not to like about this album. The hooks are ridiculously catchy and the vocals are pure listening pleasure. That said, while this album is a lot of fun, it can get a bit fluffy. These tracks wouldn't seem out of place on the soundtrack to an EA sports video game, and everyone knows how annoying those can get. There are some eye roll-inducing moments for sure, most so during "Rat Race" when the group leads us in an uplifting "yay!" Cheesy? Yes. Fun? Definitely. It doesn’t require a critical analysis--it’s just fun. Besides, music is too serious these days anyway.
Habits of the Heart is the first record to be previewed before its official release date on the rapidly growing Spotify network. This was a pretty epic move on the group's part. Only time will tell if this will become a trend, although it seems inevitable. By advertising on Spotify, acts such as Idle Warship that may be initially overlooked by the masses will have a chance to shine. It only makes sense that a group pushing the limitations of hip-hop would push the music industry as well.