Babinagar, for example, is a bewitching song-cycle based on an Afghan folktale, and De Rerum (a “hip hop lecture on the physics of history”) is wedded to wordplay.
But after chatting with him, that image shifts. The words can be vital to his work, definitely, but the core of his inspiration turns out to trace more of a pendulum swing. Cole is most comfortable and feels most productive when he can vary his approach: insider vs. outsider, text-rooted vs. pure sound, composer vs. performer, a musician dipping his toes into a wealth of styles and methods along the way. Rather than troubadour, it might make more sense to think of Cole as a trapeze artist graced with contagious enthusiasm and seemingly inexhaustible curiosity.
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