The first voice you hear on Phoenix hip-duo Catharsis’ new album isn’t that of veteran MCs Brad B. or Optimal.
Instead, it’s the voice of the late comedian and counterculture icon George Carlin introducing the record on opening track “They Own You.” “You have no choice, you have owners,” Carlin growls, his voice ragged over a break beat. “They own you … they own everything … they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls.”
The sample comes from Carlin’s HBO special and album Life Is Worth Losing, which was recorded in 2005 and released the following year. But with its political verve and barely restrained rage, the screed feels like it could have been broadcast yesterday. It sets the tone for the album, Out of the Vault from the Rib Cage. Carlin was a master of getting where he needed to go, his routines and observations unfiltered, direct from his brain and heart. That style pairs well with Catharsis.