A bunch of hip hop animals 

Whistler's MC duo launches new album Selfless Mind Indulgence CD release party

What: Animal Nation CD release party

When: Thursday, Aug. 24

Where: Garfinkel’s

It’s an Animal Nation out there.

Or at least that is how the Whistler hip hop duo Mike "Armadillo Slim" Armitage and Steige "Tall Man" Turner of Animal Nation see it – no great surprise from a couple of emcees who don giant tiger and panda bear suits for the cover of their debut album, Selfless Mind Indulgence .

The band’s long awaited album will be introduced to the masses at the album release party Thursday, Aug. 24 at 11 p.m. at Garfinkel’s.

Chances are, you’ve already heard them around town with guest slots at local haunts such as Merlin’s and the 2006 Whistler Battle of the Bands showcase, where they were first runners up in the competition.

While both boys bring a history of rap and beat making to the group, they have only been working together for a year on the project; the process sped up with Turner turning his basement into a recording studio.

"It’s great having it in the house," he said. "You can come home from the bar and have a late night jam session. My roommates weren’t liking me so much, mind you."

The track Favourite Things was one of the products of returning from a night on the town. Playing around with the Julie Andrew’s classic, a friend from Britain grabbed the mic to experiment with a call and response style that later led to a satirical rap commenting on the false rosiness of life as portrayed by some people. While the song approaches a serious subject, the tone is hilarious, something that would liven up any party. Humour combined with a sound that dabbles in everything – classical, jazz, rock and hip hop – results in an eclectic musical mix with no two tracks ever sounding remotely the same, other than polished, tight and catchy.

"The whole album was kind of serious: a bit Shakespearean," Turner said. "We wanted to throw humour into it. We are happy go lucky guys, but our music comes off serious. We wanted to get a song in there that is about who we are as opposed to serious deep thinking people."

Yes they were animal suits, but there is a lot of deep thinking in the album, with lyrics addressing everything from life, loss and lies to sex, drugs and hopeism.

No you won’t find hopeism in the dictionary, not yet.

One of Turner’s life long goals is to introduce one word to the dictionary, but until the day arrives a Coles Notes version would read something to the effect of not letting hope get in the way of taking action – the song lyrics might be a little long for Webster’s.

"I am not making fun of hope, but just pointing out it isn’t always the best route to go," Turner said. "Hopeism is a word I made up to describe anybody that is waiting for their life to start."

Hope in healthy doses is always a good thing. Hope put the scratching of internationally renowned talent Mat the Alien onto one of the album’s tracks, The Way Things Have Been. Mat will also be spinning sets over the course of the CD-launch evening.

Check out Animal Nation’s music at www.myspace.com/animalnation.

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