In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are modern musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It”, where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
“The Thinks” — Otis Mensah
How We Found It
The fourth and latest song in the ongoing OtisMensahExists series reached us through our SubmitHub inbox. Poet laureate of the UK and Why We Like It mainstay Otis Mensah barely needs introduction. Following the incredible “No Record Store Day,” “The Thinks” employs production from Brelstaff for rhythmic, poetic exploration of otherthinking.
Why We Like It
OtisMensahExists continues its trek away from the winter months of “Breath of Life” to bask in the still summer of “The Thinks.” Following the hibernation of lockdown, Mensah’s world has reopened, Brelstaff’s production the inviting breeze cracking open the front door and dragging Mensah into peaceful warmth. These are the ingredients of the most expansive song in the series to date.
Mensah’s hook captures the extent of the newfound opportunities the world offers as he sings “From where forever grows / To where the river flows / From where you never know / Somewhere you’ll never go.” This beauty in the unknown comes with a cost of, as Mensah puts it, “fighting the thinks.” Purely having the extent of the world available to him seems to overwhelm Mensah, leading to a song that jumps from musing to musing over a dream-inducing instrumental. As a listener, you get the sensation of floating through his thoughts.
Perpetually poetic word choice facilitates the feeling of levitation as Otis empties his lyrical “treasure trove.” “The Thinks” busts the myth that one must turn off their brain to enjoy themselves – Otis owns each and every neuronic impulse passing through his mind. So rarely is overthinking presented with such beauty. Having a million thoughts colliding at once can seem like a stressful experience, but Otis shows us that we have the ability to pick those thoughts apart, to find the beauty in them, so when they collide they produce a stunning fireworks display.
From Otis Mensah
The writing process is really quite fluid for me, I tend not to stick to a particular structure or go into a piece of writing with a premeditated direction or narrative in mind. I find it liberating to feel that the process can take me to any end destination and I think this mind state helps me protect my expressive-authenticity; knowing whatever I wrote in the moment was a true recording of self in that instance. I tend to walk around life carrying a subconscious kettle of emotion, as I think many of us do; internalising the external world, our personal interactions and relationships, social issues or battles with trauma. This brewing process reaches a boiling point whereby writing becomes the most therapeutic, cathartic outlet to ease the tension and start the process of (what I like to call) Introspective Documentarianism; delving inward to discover our spilling truths. With this at the centre of the writing process, taking time to go the scenic route with the language and imagery I use becomes instrumental to the journey of exploration, almost like words act as the vehicle to finding the truth. Sprinkling a bit of yellow here, a splash of pink there; letting the idea mature and then finding that the canvas paints a bigger picture.” – Otis Mensah for CentralSauce (2020)
More From Otis Mensah
To keep up to date on Otis’ music you can follow him on Twitter @OtisMensah. Below are a couple of previous tracks from OtisMensahExists and his 2019 EP Rap Poetics.
More to Discover
Subscribe to the CentralSauce mailing list so you never miss out on the freshest sauce. Check out this continuously updated playlist of songs Ryan has added to our Discovery section! Each track or artist has been featured in our “Why We Like It” section, so be sure to check out the page here on the site.