Multimedia genius Saul Williams returns with the electronic-flavored new Encrypted & Vulnerable | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Multimedia genius Saul Williams returns with the electronic-flavored new Encrypted & Vulnerable 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge Saul Williams

Saul Williams

Geordie Wood

Saul Williams is a one-man multimedia juggernaut: he’s had successful careers as a screenwriter and actor, but he’s earned his greatest fame as a poet and MC. His new sixth studio album, Encrypted and Vulnerable (Pirates Blend), includes a track whose title aptly sums up his musical evolution: “Experiment.” Though Williams’s first major recording was a collaboration with KRS-One (“Oceans Within,” from the soundtrack to the 1998 film Slam, which Williams cowrote and starred in), he has largely bypassed the usual musical routes followed by hip-hop artists. His earliest albums are heavily rock influenced, and feature his distinct linguistic flow—he sounds like he’s reciting the words to his songs rather than chanting in rhythm. Encrypted, the second in a series of three albums that are part of Williams’s multitiered MartyrLoserKing project, has a more pronounced electronica feel, with less emphasis on percussion and more on his voice—which is often altered with electronic effects until it feels like another instrument in the mix. He soars over the keyboards in “Before the War” like a one-man string section, while on “People Above the Moon” he overdubs layers of backing vocals to create sweet harmonies with his leads. Williams can also use his voice as a weapon if he has to—his towering sense of dynamics gives even his whispers the same weight as shouts.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories