Artist: Sun Sunych
Release Date: 2014 Aug 26
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Libre Comme Lair
I like recordings that teach me a lesson. The Hybris of Sun Sunych has taught me two lessons. First, I’ve learned: never try to read Google translations of rap lyrics. It just doesn’t work. The translation is just too rough and a lot of the context and meaning is lost. Second, I’ve learned: Hybris is an alternative form of the word Hubris. I thought it was a word that either didn’t translate, or wasn’t translated. So, now I know they are the same word.
This is also a lesson for netlabels: don’t offer translated lyrics unless you can get someone to do the translation. Seeing things like “Grab the bull by the horns (idiom)” in the lyrics is a giveaway that the translation was done by a computer and not a human being.
The Hybris of Sun Sunych
I’ve had a bit of a fascination with netlabel music that has come out of Russia for some time. From Russian punk rock to Russian chillout / lounge, and a few things in-between. However, I don’t have all that much music from the Ukraine until I found Breakcore, and trip-hop and downtempo recently. But now I’ve managed to find my way into some real hip-hop from the Ukraine.
This is what brought me to my lessons for tonight. I don’t think in any of the Russian or other Ukrainian releases I’ve listened has there been any offer of translated lyrics. And, even if there were, I likely wouldn’t have tried to look at them. Why? Well, in most cases they aren’t important. They might be interesting, or add something to my understanding of the music. But strictly speaking, I didn’t feel it was necessary to have a translation.
However, when it comes to a hip-hop release we are on another level. The lyrics are central to really grasping this style of music. It was impossible to review DJ Def Chad and Mported Flows without talking about their lyrics. But trying to read the lyrics for this release in translation proved impossible. Ho impossible? Well, the first track went mostly okay — talking about how a person might want to be judged on their intellect, but instead are judged on their outward appearance.
However, when I got to ‘Schooner” it was another matter altogether. I simply broke down when I read the line “It’s time to collect them and pour with latrine schooner / And slowly go into the sunset.” I mean, I understand this imagery, somewhat, but it’s so awkward and just doesn’t have a flow that works. It just devalues the experience of listening to this work.
So what I am left with is this: Sun Sunych is a Russian born rapper who has spent time between the Ukraine and U.S. In the U.S. he developed another alias: Alex East Bloc for his English language performances. This is his second release, and he is working on three more. And he has formed a group named ‘Lemniscatorz’.
The theme of this release is Hubris, it’s about how a person can move past their own hubris. How we see ourselves, and how we want to be seen by others. Basically the hubris is a form of self-pride. This release asks questions of the self, and tries to get you to move past that pride instead of being consumed by it.
So how do I summarize this release? Well, I think the theme is excellent. It’s something that a lot of people face in their lives, and anything that can help them get through it is worth listening to. It is, in fact, better than most of the manufactured pop we hear today from a theme standpoint. Musically, I have to say I like this release. While I don’t understand the lyrics, Sun Sunych definitely has a style and flow that make for interesting listening. I really want to hear what he does as East Bloc Alex on another release, if he’s half as good as Sun Sunych with his flows and feeling then I will likely have a lot more great things to say about him.
Despite the barriers. I really like this work, and can listen to it just on the basis of the music alone, without having any real understanding of the lyrics. Maybe since I never really understood the lyrics for any of the Voland releases, that’s the way it should be for the Hybris of Sun Sunych.