H.L.'s 9th Favorite Def Jux Recording

El-P - "Tuned Mass Damper"
(Fantastic Damage; 2002)

A tuned mass damper is a device used to taper vibrations in structures. The Taipei 101, located just less than a mile from a major fault line in Taiwan, employs a 730-Ton tuned mass damper that shifts it's weight like a pendulum to counteract the building's sway. Deciphering an El-P song is like conducting scientific and engineering research. The work is a never-ending cycle, as each light bulb moment leads to several more questions. So even after realizing 'Tuned Mass Damper' is dedicated to suicide victim Matt Doo, and after discovering he was an artist responsible for the cover art featured on Company Flow's Funcrusher Plus and Organized Konfusion's Extinction Agenda, and after excavating Prince Po's own tribute record to Matt, there's still a mountain of inquires buried between El-P's dense bars. Why did Matt have narcotic appendages? How did the news affect John? Motherfucker does he sound abstract? And most importantly, why was the song titled 'Mass Tuned Damper'? Perhaps it's a metaphor for whatever internal mechanism provides the strength to cope with the overwhelming forces of regret and disappointment. Maybe Matt's damper was broken.

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