Portland-based group, Beautiful Eulogy are a welcome new addition to the Christian music scene. Already established acts themselves, lyricists Bryan Winchester (a.k.a. Braille), and Thomas Terry (a.k.a. OddThomas) joined with production artist Courtland Urbano (a.k.a. Xperiment) to form the group, making their debut with Satellite Kite in 2012 (available for free download at humblebeast.com).
Rather than laying down the beats for the rappers to write to, the trio constructed the album organically, creating a stronger link between the music and the text. Creative aesthetic choices, such as water drop sounds appear on the track “Anchor,” invoke an environment and deepens the mood of the piece. The song is also linked to other texts; it was based off of the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul,” as well as inspired by the rap track “The Resistance” by Josh Garrels (who sings the chorus of “Anchor.”) Just within one track we see inter-textual communication and aesthetic development, work Beautiful Eulogy is self-aware of. The group themselves are great at explicating their music, and discuss in their digital booklet their process of creating songs and their inspirations. Some artists can’t explain their art or prefer not to; Beautiful Eulogy, however, are open and eloquent, able to illustrate their talent as well as welcome their audience into how their art works.
The genre of rap demands that you are vocally articulate and lyrically precise. There is a certain eloquence needed, and Beautiful Eulogy has it. Satellite Kite illustrates the group’s flexibility well. Tracks like “Motive 1,2” show their ability to rap a stream of consciousness with a paced flow, whereas “An Open Letter To Whoever’s Listening” quickly delivers lines with witty wordplay, explaining the group’s own mission for their music. They seek to “make you logically stop and think doxologically cause honestly a little bit of music and theology never really hurt anybody.” These tracks illustrate rap’s ability to directly communicate to the audience; “Open Letter” noting that “Maybe music isn’t the best medium for making much of the Messiah but for Courtland Urbano, Braille and I, there’s really is not a lot of options, only poor penmanship trying to paint pictures of proper doctrine.” While their humility is greatly welcome, with the talent these three men have, their art is hardly poor.
- Jacqueline Ristola