Identity Crisis is the first full length album from Iowa based producer and musician Bob Benson, aka 86plot.  A mix of electronic music mixed with hip hop, funk and something more minimalist, Identity Crisis winds around the spoken word.  Pirandello’s ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ provides a framework of dialogue that supports the album’s look at identity and awareness, both personal and socio political.

With the juxtaposition of tempered dialogue and pumped music, Bob explores the crisis of identity that many people feel in the world today and poses the question, what is our place in the world?  There is no sense of attempting to answer this question, rather, the lyrics investigate the awareness or not of the socio political issues that currently dominate society.  ‘Red Handed‘ starts us off on this journey, talking about the divisions that both separate and unite us – sometimes they one and the same and that’s something that isn’t shied away from.

Till You Got It‘ is a song with as catchy a hook as you’re likely to hear this year – it’s still going around in my head several days after last listening.

Before you read on, 86plot is giving a FREE download of “Till You Got It”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!

The standout track is ‘Silhouette‘, a gloriously danceable two and half minutes of funk and soul with noticeable nods to Prince.

At the Bar with a Wise Man’ satirises the fashion for so called ‘home grown’ politics and nationalism, lamenting the poor treatment of veterans and the collective apathy of the voting public.  The track starts softly and gradually winds up into a diatribe against politicians and politics alike, saying that “we’ve forgotten the art of compromise” and “the future is salvageable but only if we reign in the madness.”  Lest you think this is all a bit depressing, Bob has a way out:

“Do something – anything! Buy that wedding ring – don’t take love for granted!…Sympathize with each other! Reach across the aisle! Choose substance over style! Save a life – create it – live it! Have compassion, find your passion!”

Wise words should we choose to listen.  Identity Crisis is an album that makes you think about more than just being entertained; this album forces you to consider the world around us and how we engage with it.  It’s also very good to listen to.

Bob is, apart from being a musician and producer, is also a music educator and his advice for young musicians harks to this:

“You have to learn the rules before you can break them.”

Identity Crisis was released on 22 February 2019. Get your copy here.

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