Going under the moniker AllOne, Long Island-based rapper, slam poet, and songwriter Bruce Pandolfo’s eighth album Emotionauts is being hailed as his most fully realized work to date. This is mostly in partly due to the production duo Conscious Robot taking controls, which can be heard in today’s release of “Thought Balloon Aeronaut.”
“This is the strongest relationship and interactivity I’ve ever had with a producer,” says Pandolfo, “so it’s really the first time where I feel like I’m not just adding my vocals on top of the music. There’s a musicality and a progressive quality with Conscious Robot that hasn’t always been there in some of the more lo-fi boom-bap stuff that I’ve rapped on. I love that stuff, but it tends to have a uniform feel.”
Pandolfo has spent countless hours studying the craft of MCing, and he is nothing if not meticulous about the placement of every syllable in his dense, rapid-fire rhymes. Like the disciplined, woodshedding instrumentalists who showcase their technique on social media these days, Pandolfo has chops, and he isn’t afraid to use ‘em. Take any celebrated gunslinger-type musician — from Eddie Van Halen to Victor Wooten to Buddy Rich, etc — and you’ll hear parallels in the way Pandolfo embodies the ultimate definition of lead instrument on his new album, Emotionauts.
With the eighth AllOne album Emotionauts, Pandolfo has upped his game both on the lyrical and musical front, working with the production duo Conscious Robot for his most fully realized work to date. Whether he’s urging us to let our freak flag fly and find community in niche spaces on “Left Field Day,” raising questions about how to navigate the ambiguous boundaries of romance on “Heart Syncing” or trying to wrap his head around the unfathomable scale of the universe on “Laniakea,” Pandolfo sounds like a finely tuned athlete delivering his most dextrous bars to date. Moreover, the musical variation from track to track gives listeners the sense that they’re stepping into a different world on each successive track.