Expressing their honest and cutthroat content, MAGNOLIUS paints a portrait so vivid that its listeners are left with nothing less than a pure cinematic experience. The duo's most recent album "Mary Musth" earned them the "Best Rap" award at the Toronto Independent Music Awards.
MAGNOLIUS - Ode To Hyde – Rant! Magazine
Progressive hip-hop anyone? Despite the connotations of dull experimental wankery that the tag suggests, Canadian duo Magnolius have managed to create an LP that’s both progressive and hugely entertaining. Not bad for a self-released debut.
Embracing the experimental ethic currently dominating Canadian hip-hop, MCs Serebral and Noizulli’s exploratory prog-hop experiments effortlessly fuse jazz, electro, funk and rock. Spanish guitars, D&B beats, jazz bass lines and a wealth of other sounds and samples merge together to form an extraordinary backdrop to the duo’s inventive rhymes.
Operating at the highest level, Magnolius have crafted a quick-witted hip-hop experience that reveals just how far the genre has progressed in recent years. Sharing more in common with ‘Bitches Brew’ than ‘Straight Outta Compton’, ‘Ode To Hyde’ proves that rap can be every bit as creative as jazz. Evidence, then, that hip-hop has well and truly grown up.
Check out www.myspace.com/magnolius
"Mary Musth" – Exclaim!
This album opens with a bang when a momentary a cappella morphs into a breezy drum & bass track, complete with impressive double-time raps, although it's the catchy opera sample that makes "Tusk" standout as an album highlight. Drum & bass surfaces once again on "Ennui Go," this time with a hook provided by the awesomely named Perilelle, but Mary Musth is still mostly melancholy music, a mix of unusual sample choices merged with smooth hip-hop beats. While rappers Shan Vincent de Paul and Derek DaCosta can sometimes come a little abstract (just check out some of the song titles), "Mary Mary" shows they have storytelling skills and "Andrebuild" proves they can battle with the best of them. At only eight songs long, Mary Musth is short but it's also concise and to the point. It's definitely more focused, and darker, than their debut. But best of all is their successful spanning of that sometimes-massive space existing between the disparate sides of tradition and experimentation within hip-hop, moving from one to the other with casual ease. Mary Musth is comfortably familiar yet unique. (PPF House)
MAGNOLIUS - Mary Musth – I LION (Saskatoon Express)
This record is so full of varying influences; a prog-jazz jam that wouldn't sound too out of place on a Mars Volta record. It's a fitting opening moment, as it illustrates the operating method to follow throughout the album. Each sound or style is a tease to hold you over until the next baffling change-up. You'll think you're listening to an oriental-flavored suspense scene just before realizing it has morphed into what sounds more like the soundtrack to a Looney Tunes character tiptoeing behind the clueless antagonist.
The changes are unexpected, which makes for some confusion, but are skillfully stitched into a whole, cohesive fabric, (reminiscent of the production on Blackalicious's The Craft album.) This is not an average rap record. Don't expect to hear the verses bookended by the hook. The hook is too busy swooping in on shifting sounds as it suits the song, or pleases the craftsmen's whim.
Each track's composition is crafted with a level of competency far above the standard kick/snare, bassline, and samples, a construction mainstream hip hop hasn't been able to let go of, or improve upon since Run-DMC essentially mastered it before most of us were born.
One of the most impressive qualities of the music contained in this album is this: if you were to remove the MC’s raps, it would be near unrecognizable as a hip hop album, and could be filed just as readily under world music, smooth jazz, or avant D&B. Just when you think a track will run it's length as an instrumental, though, MCs Shan Vincent de Paul and Derek DaCosta tumble on top, exchanging shouts, each equally verbalizing quips and words of wisdom one over the other, simultaneously bounding over and ducking underneath, so that neither lies in the shadow of the other, a deft duet of brothers in arms.
Life long friends, the duo is so together, they stand apart. Erect, clumsy, only inasmuch as you might catch a stray punch-line to the jaw. It’s comfortable, cluttered, but I've always believed you have got to make a mess in order to truly clean up.
"Mary," a conceptual characterization of "an aggressive counter-persona battling the demons within society and culture," also colours the lyrical content.
MAGNOLIUS - Ode To Hyde review – Beyond Race Magazine
MAGNOLIUS ain't your typical hip-hop duo .. and not just because they're Canadian. These Toronto MCs, Liquid Serebral and Dexter Noizulli, are just as musical as they are lyrical. A wide range of influences adorn their tracks, like classical guitar, smooth jazz and even somebody playing wine glasses! And the rhymes roll off their tongues like little droplets of spit. These guys refuse to be held back by any of those “conventional” barriers, or in their own words, “You should've known you can't arrest the restless.”
by Kyle Timlin
Mary Musth review – Dan Rankin, Blare Magazine
There hasn’t been that much written in the Canadian music press about Magnolius, the hardworking hip hop duo from Toronto – perhaps that’s the double edge of the sword of being a hip hop duo from Toronto. However, the group has gotten attention in the form of some independent music awards locally and some packed concerts as far away from home as Sao Paulo and Seoul. Mary Musth is an independently released album from Magnolius (Shan Vincent de Paul and Derek DaCosta) who dazzle not only through their strong confident vocal flow, but also through the slick production work they put into the record. Swing piano, funk grooves, horns, and a guitar solo that manages to be as soulful as it is metal all take turns holding time behind de Paul and DaCosta’s lyrics. On “King For Hire” they prove they can make a catchy summer single, but the sprawling “Mary Mary” also shows them capable at weaving a compelling narrative.
MAGNOLIUS - Arize Interview --Words: Camille – Arize Magazine
Arize had the pleasure to sit down with MAGNOLIUS and to much avay came up with a in-depth interview just as colorful as their music and personalities. Enjoy.
Arize: Since a lot of us Americans have been sleeping on The MAG, I’m going to allow you guys to re-introduce yourselves…
Shan Vincent de Paul: MAGNOLIUS is myself and Derek. We make music, do shows, make films, and throw rocks at old folk’s homes.
Derek DaCosta: 20 years in the making.
Shan: But the rock throwing only started ten years ago.
Arize: So when exactly did you fall in love with Hip Hop or did you just fall into doing it?
Derek: For me, it all started with the whole 90's west coast scene. My cousin first played me his Doggystyle tape on Christmas Eve and I was in from there. Then in high school, somehow met these like-minded characters and that friendship slowly grew into Soliva.
Shan: I was always fascinated with the whole hip-hop culture, but it was when I first heard artists like Ras Kass, Canibus, Pharoahe Monch, Outkast etc. who took lyricism to another level that really made me want to sit down and write seriously. Plus, just growing up around a group of people that shared the same passion for hip-hop, made it inevitable that we’d take this path.
Arize: I read somewhere that you guys were part of a bigger group, The Soliva Spit Society right…? So how did you come to evolve as a duo?
Shan: Yeah, Soliva consists of MAGNOLIUS, DJ Alibi, Al Buddy Black, Bang Cheeto (of Svelt St.), and Demelo Melod. We put out an EP in 04’, and now everyone in the crew is really just focusing on separate projects. As for the MAG, I think we just shared a similar vision in terms of creativity.
Derek: Shan and I have known each other since the beginning of time, so MAGNOLIUS was just inevitable. 'Ode to Hyde' was really a project 20 years in the making. We just needed the time to unravel it.
Shan: Truthfully, I hate this guy and would’ve stabbed him a long time ago if it weren’t for the music.
Arize: The instrumentation on your tracks is what caught my attn, kinda enhanced the emcee’n…what was the inspiration behind your sound?
Shan: A lot of it just has to do with trying new things and taking risks. So with Mike D’s production, it was something that we connected with right off the bat, cause it was a sound people often wouldn’t associate with hip-hop.
Derek: Mike D's music has worked like a backbone for MAGNOLIUS, where he just goes off and creates his opus and let's us know when shit's ready. Once we get a hold of the music, we just let Mike's mastery influence our ideas and vocals. Not to mention the countless hours of Mike Tyson interviews we watch for inspiration.
Arize: I was listening to the lyrics in “Destrjoy”…pretty intense, have you guys ever been pressured to dumb things down a bit?
Shan: Honestly, we’ve never felt that pressure just because most people that listen to us know what they’re getting into. Plus, compromising our sound would only contradict what the MAG represents in the first place.
Derek: We’re pretty stubborn with our approach as well. Not a single person heard “Ode to Hyde” before it was released, except the guy who mastered it….and we made him fish food after anyway.
Arize: Mike Denheyer- is this the mastermind behind you guy’s sound or do you three take turns doing the production work?
Derek: Mike D is the majority producer throughout 'Ode to Hyde' along with our upcoming EP, titled 'Mary Musth'. With Mike, as I mentioned, he just hooks up the music and we then add vocals and a ton of post-production. So really, production is sort of split between MAGNOLIUS and the respective producer.
Arize: You seem to be gettin’ a lot of love across Asia with all the touring ya’ll got going on…do you think that people in the States purposely give a deaf ear to hip-hop artists overseas?
Derek: I don't know if they purposely give a deaf ear. It's just that the market in the States is so over-populated with artists that create around the same sounds and ideas, that it's almost like a form of hypnosis. On top of that, the foundations that back these "hypnotists" are multi-billion dollar corporations that blow any foreign acts out of the water.
Shan: Along with the oversaturated hip-hop market, I think a lot of people in the States and Canada underestimate how big the scene is overseas. Its really unfortunate because you have so many dope artists that are doing some phenomenal things out there.
Arize: I noticed your music often gets put in the “Progressive Hip Hop” or “underground” categories but how would you classify it?
Derek: I think any artist that experiments with new sounds outside of the "hip hop norm" will automatically receive the "progressive" or "underground" label just because people simply can't relate it to anything else. It's just a label.. just like when you go out and rent a movie and find something like Eraserhead in the horror section. It's not a horror film, but where would you put Eraserhead? Who cares. Just enjoy it, right?
Shan: I think we’ve been placed in so many contradicting categories, it doesn’t even matter anymore.
Arize: You guys rocked with Kardinal Offishal, (one of Canada’s finest might I add) but as a West Coast girl, I gotta know how you hooked up with Del The Funky Homosapien.
Shan: Del is the man! That was definitely a memorable show. In terms of how we hooked up, the promoter just put us on the same bill. I think Soliva was one of the more suitable crews to open for Del in Toronto at the time.
Arize: Ya’ll plan on doing some shows out here in the near future?
Derek: For sure. We actually have some pretty extensive touring plans for the next year with a few shows in Brazil this summer along with Europe in the fall. I don't see how the West could be missed. We have our good friend Bang Cheeto (1/6th of Soliva) out in San Fran. He's killing it out there with his duo Svelt St., so it's just a matter of time until the MAG shakes some ground out there.
Shan: World domination is the plan.
Band of the Week: MAGNOLIUS – Dave Macnamara, Whisper Magazine
A serving of Canadian hip hop, madame?
I was looking back over the previous bands of the week I've written and it would appear that once every 8 (bear in mind I write fortnightly) weeks I feature a hip-hop group of some variety. In the past I've written about Example, N.A.S.A, The Cool Kids and....you get the picture, and well it's not for any great love of the game - I just happen to think that there are elements to the genre that are some of the most exciting music out there right now.
Joining the illustrious list of hip hop bands championed by Dave (HHBCBD's as its known in the industry) are Canadian duo Magnolius.
As is usually my wont, I stumbled upon this hip-hop duo in a bank holiday club night in north west London, and they blew me away. The chemistry between the duo, Shan Vincent de Paul & Derek DaCosta....well if you could bottle it, you could sell it back to N-Power and make some tidy wedge. Picking tracks off their debut album Ode To Hyde as well as road-testing new material from the forthcoming album Mary Musth, it's angry and aware, yet sharp and has sense of humour. Think of Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, or anyone who featured on the Deltron 3030 album fused with The Beastie Boys, and a bit of Zach De La Rocha and you'd be close.
The live show too is incendiary. Winning over an inquisitive, though hardly enthusiastic crowd, the energy The Mag give out, coupled with a stunning visual set, a dying art, in my opinion, is one to be hold. As much as it pains me to say it, but the duo quite literally got the party started (shit, that hurt just to type) as the vibe within the crowd continued into the night. You could argue that that vibe had more to do with no work on Monday, but I'd like to think the crowd was still running on MagnoliusPower.
Check out Magnolius at www.myspace.com/magnolius