26 Sep 2022

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Scalper - Single Review: Silence Speaks

24 Jul 2021 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Hard to believe it’s been seven years since I heard my first Scalper track My Blood Your Blood. Harder to believe it was only last year I reviewed Scalper’s The Beast & The Beauty. I don’t need to tell anyone how long this year has felt.

Yet after seven years, I’m still not seeing the recognition every track I’ve heard from Scalper thus far deserves.

You can’t heap this music in with the seven-cents-a-dozen “hits” the collectively unconscious masses are told is the soundtrack to their lives. Maybe that’s the problem. 

There is still nothing like Scalper’s dark trip-hop being made around here. No one has the attention span to explore his introspective beat poetry. Even if Mr Shafi played the scramble for Spotify playlisting game the other acts are encouraged to play to be played, would anyone truly listen? You'd think being a clown at a funeral would get you attention. Instead it gets you ignored.

Well, I've listen. I hear you, Mr Shafi.

Part of the beauty of Scalper’s lyrics, poetry in general, is that the meaning can be subjective. The interpretation different than the intent and different between listeners. We all have our own ears with their own experiences.

My first listen of Silence Speaks felt an inevitable desire for connection following lockdown contrasted with people avoiding each other for fear of a disease. In later listens though, I’m feeling more that the yearning is more for a connection to a mainstream that is yet to embrace Scalper. The one leaf blown from the tree and neglected.

I might have missed the mark entirely, pulling too much from my own experience as an invisible artist, but the accompanying video by Hendrikus De Vaan on Scalper’s YouTube reinforces this reading for me. Scalper videos are always unique and have a strong visual appeal, most notably Dust from their last album. Silence Speaks shows off the iconic New Zealand scenery of Te Henga (Bethells Beach) contrasted against Mr Shafi in clown garb. Towards the end, he releases his colourful balloons into the grey abyss, as he does with his songs, and washes his clown face off in the stream. No longer standing out. Looking like any other human.

Perhaps the intent was less shallow. Maybe the song was all about stripping back your layers and reconnecting with yourself all along. Does the intent mean more than the lesson you learn?

I understand and relate when he speaks the words “I want to be like them, be like bees”. The silence from fans when you release something different speaks volumes. Maybe if you were like the rest of the artists they hear every day, you’d get the attention you deserve.

But when you’re in a crowd you have just as much chance of being invisible and you lose the uniqueness that is the appeal, and strength of the music of Scalper. A strength that has kept my attention for the last seven years.

Keep being Scalper.

Five stars of five.

You can find Scalper’s Silence Speaks almost exclusively on Bandcamp.

I have my suspicions, and hopes, that this is a rebellion against Spotify’s model of convenience over credit. What’s the problem with Spotify you ask? Well, the $5 you pay to download Silence Speaks on Bandcamp is equivalent to 1316 plays on Spotify. Don’t want to pay an artist for their contribution to your life? Maybe you’re the problem.

I want to hear Scalper in another seven years, so I know which way I’m going to support Mr Shafi.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Scalper

Scalper is Nadeem Shafi, born and raised in East London of Pakistani descent. First seen in Aotearoa New Zealand at WOMAD 1997 as the vocalist for the British band Fun-da-mental. Now based on the wild West Coast of Auckland, having moved here in 2007. Scalper is Hip-Hop like you’ve never heard it before. Moody, gritty beats with introspective lyrics that conjure visions of epic proportions, and an electrifying live performance that demands attention.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Scalper


The Beast and The Beauty
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Want More
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Year: 2017
Type: EP
The Emperor's Clothes
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Butchers Bakers
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Flesh & Bones
Year: 2010
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Peter-James Dries

The Hopkinsville Goblins - Album Review: Bite the Wax Tadpole
14 Sep 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
The Hopkinsville Goblins is always a challenging review. If you want it done right, you really need some hard-broiled journalist from a bygone era on the job, not some gumshoe with a grudge like me.
Young Moon - EP Review: Paraverbal Orchids
06 Sep 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
There is this Japanese art form called Kintsugi – Golden Joinery – which is a method of mending cracks in broken pottery with gold. The idea is that the broken pieces are part of the object’s history, so are something to remember rather than something to hide.
Impostor Syndrome - Single Review: Locksmith
31 Aug 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
Across their body of work, Imposter Syndrome have been known for their blurring of the lines between sub-genres and laying waste to the traditional ideas of song structure. Well, that’s what they’re known for to me at least.
Rhombus - Album Review: After Party
26 May 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
I was wearing a New Zealand Music Month hoodie the other week. Upon seeing it, my niece gleefully exclaimed “You’ve got the year I was born on your hoodie.
Fear Up Harsh - Album Review: Fear Up Harsh (II)
28 Mar 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
There is a rumour that, when played simultaneously, Fear Up Harsh (II) syncs perfectly with Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control. The rumour is a lie of course, like many rumours are, but you’d be forgiven for believing it.
Western Dip - Album Review: Warm Ups
08 Feb 2022 // by Peter-James Dries
It’s been over a decade since I thought “I might listen to some techno”. Probably longer since EDM was even called techno… And even then, the genre was never the main event.
Tony Lee - Single Review: Closer
08 Dec 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
Here is yet another track that takes me back to the early-90;s. The days of our family following Vince Leatherby, the Happy Wanderer, around the Kiwi country music circuit.
The Hopkinsville Goblins - Album Review: Mundivagrants
12 Oct 2021 // by Peter-James Dries
Mundivagrants is a weird release. Probably one of the strangest I’ve had to review.
View All Articles By Peter-James Dries

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Nicki Minaj
    Chris Brown
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
    Eliza Rose And Interplanetary Criminal
    Luude And Mattafix
    Harry Styles
    Steve Lacy
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem