Rusty Redenbacher has been the man in Indy for a long, long time. As a kid, he took hip-hop into the rock clubs with his Coalition Collective. He later forged a path with The Birdmen of Alcatraz that proved to be the same blueprint that 90 percent of the nu-metallers use to make millions later in the '90s. It was the same story with The Mudkids, who created a distinctly Midwestern rap sound that dudes like Kanye and Rhymefest later made a mint on. Turns out, all this history has been but a prelude to Rusty's new album, The Tinkerer, which may just be his golden ticket. At the very least it will go down as the best, most original Indianapolis album of the past few years.
Just as Prince would record entire albums by himself, Redenbacher does so here on this concept album full of monsters and weird science. Redenbacher explores the monsters that we are, that other people are and what we all perceive each other to be. It's a well-worn concept, but Redenbacher makes it work with some truly inspired music. There's nary a wasted note on The Tinkerer; Redenbacher makes every second count, and in the process shows off his many talents.
"Frah Ken Steen" builds on the classic "Frankenstein" riff that Q95 listeners know and love. From there, it turns into a sublime rap decree that hasn't been seen since the days of Public Enemy. Instant classic.
All through the album, Redenbacher brings his considerable production and DJ skills to the fore, mixing Fleetwood Mac, Sabbath, ELO and even Full Metal Jacket and Beavis and Butthead into a tough as leather soundscape. "It Comes and Goes" and "My Migraine" show off Redenbacher's often overlooked R&B side. "Dunwiddit" and "The Funk" show off the best MC in the Midwest.
The Tinkerer is already getting airplay on X103; "Iron Man Monster Factory," which features a Nirvana sample turned an industrial beat blows away most anything else that station has in rotation. It's "Shake" that should be the viral international blockbuster. It's a exhilarating dance floor stomper. It's sounds as if "Hey Ya"-era Outkast and "Kiss"-era Prince made a baby and that baby joined Cypress Hill and made a song.
Redenbacher's 10,000 hours of effort can be seen here in spades. If there is any justice in this world, The Tinkerer will be the soundtrack of the summer of 2012.