Aesop Rock reveals a new chapter for his narratively conscious forthcoming studio album, Spirit World Field Guide, with a brand new single titled “Pizza Alley.” Picking up where last month’s “The Gates” bookmarked us, Aesop’s new song broadens the fictional universe conceived to pair with the new album.
The new visual opens with the two children that stumbled into the titular field guide, but we greet them hours later, laboriously attempting to get sleep after what had transpired in the last music video. What happens next is a visually stimulating and hallucinatory nightmare that illuminates the story of the children’s father and his struggle to unlock the secrets of the spirit world.
The visuals for these last few additions to the Aesop Rock canon have been directed by his longtime collaborator Rob Shaw, and features illustrations by Justin “Coro” Kaufman, who has taken the lead on the album’s cohesive illustrations. “Pizza Alley” does enhance and expand on the visual motifs set in “The Gates,” this time around, the story is woven together with numerous ephemeral landscapes and backdrops. We experience it all through a figure dipped in an old black and white film grain whose been cut out of his own world like a newspaper clipping and glued onto an animated wonderland. Sporadic cuts here and there to world building postcards and singing smoke aside, the halfway point of the video features a beat shift that really kicks the already killer imagery into overdrive. After our main character enjoys the secretion of a Peruvian frog, viewers hallucinate indefinitely along with him.
The beat shift is significant sonically as well. While “The Gates” bet all it could on its catchy and head banging chorus, this new song should best be thought of as two unique parts that make a better whole. “Pizza Alley” has a stark difference in song structure that could hint at an eclectic body of work on Aesops upcoming eighth album. The first portion is an unrelenting barrage of tongue twisting rhymes and phrases that account for some anecdotes in Aesops past, while the second slows everything down a touch, with longer lines, and harder hitting wordplay that resonates because of the newfound space.
Photo Credit: Brett Padelford