Lapalux – Lustmore [Album Review]

Lapalux album cover
Lapalux album cover

For a man who got his big break as recently as 2012 through Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label with his two EPs in When You’re Gone and Some Other Time, Lapalux has rapidly built himself up to be a consistent producer. Having had his song “Make Money” featured on the GTA V soundtrack, the producer has a noteworthy follow up which comes to us in the form of his second album “Lustmore”.

In “Closure” we’re treated to a smooth R&B number with a ‘pinch’ of ambience. The resulting song capitulates what Lapalux’s sound is all about, and that’s constant change. Whilst “Midnight Peelers” is a natural progression from “Closure”, “Push N’ Spun” seems to expand upon the basic concepts behind those two songs. Around the midway mark all of the elements in this song heard throughout the interim, suddenly burst into life all at once.

“Puzzle” reconfirms the continual expansion of the artist’s vision. It’s a song built on a similar foundation to “Closure” but this time the vocal is subject to a lot more editing and effects. This song retains a live element in the form of a saxophone playing away in the back. In a sense, “Puzzle” is a song reminiscent of the early works of Flying Lotus.

At times, however, songs such as “Bud” seem to offer nothing refreshing. Whilst the melody is different, the textures and effects utilised in the song seem to fall directly in line with the themes of a number preceding songs. Whilst the song sounds repetitive, this ‘sameness’ shows consistency in Lapalux’s sound.

If ever there was a song written solely for synchronisation to film and television then “Don’t Mean A Thing” would be that song. The simple yet gripping melody is perhaps tainted by layers of ambience and effects. The result is a dark and alluring composition that would make a perfect companion for film.

With its melancholic aura “1004” appears to be the perfect song to usher in the end of an interesting, yet consistent album. “Make Money” is as far from being consistent with the album’s style as can be. It’s something you’d expect from producers such as Autechre or  Squarepusher, with all its glitches and imposing hi hats. “Funny Games” is soaked in reverb so much so that one can hardly make out what the singer is actually saying. But perhaps that’s the whole point.

Lustmore, whilst seemingly consistent, is filled with moments of sporadic and sudden changes in pace, all the while maintaining a dark aroma. If ever there was a perfect soundtrack album then this would be it.

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! [Album Review]

Flying Lotus You're Dead Album Cover
Flying Lotus You’re Dead Album Cover

Between running Brainfeeder Records, scoring films and performing to sold out crowds at Coachella, it’s somewhat flabbergasting that Steve Ellison still finds time to release a full length studio album. Otherwise, known as Flying Lotus, the man has come a long way since first having his music featured on Adult Swim all those moons ago.

Maturity is perhaps the simplest word to use when describing the sound of one of Warp‘s most foremost composers and producers. In practice, however, you’ll find that it’s not that simple. Songs such as Never Catch Me however, encapsulate this maturity more so than others.

Whilst the constants throughout his career have always been down to his experimental nature, it is those very same experiments that have proven to be the variables. This is no were else as present as it is in Turkey Dog Coma, a Jazz laden medley. Thundercat’s bass fingerings are ever present in all the madness that this album has to offer. This provides a familiar element, which however is contrasted by the chanting vocals and tons of specious reverb.

Coronus, The Terminator is by definition, your quintessential Flying Lotus. But it also manages to bridge the gap between his earlier, more down-tempo works and his newer sound, which is more spacious and robust.

In a world where trends dominate mainstay pop culture, it takes something truly special in order to stand out from the crowd. This is a bit of a conundrum, seeing as any step away from the norm is always feared to alienate the majority of mainstream listeners. Once again, Flying Lotus somehow manages to expand his horizons whilst exercising the pulling power of featuring the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Hip Hop legend Snoop Dogg. You’re Dead is truly in a league, all of its own.

Lapalux – Puzzle [Single Review]

Lapalux album cover
Lapalux album cover

Soulful is hardly a new word to use when describing the lush sounds of Lapalux. Puzzle is a sultry blend of sounds, motifs, effects and otherworldly textures.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Lapalux is how he continues to carve out his own niche. Even more noteworthy is the fact that his label mates are artists such as Tokimonsta, Flying Lotus, Thundercat and The Gaslamp Killer, each a masterful musician in their own unique way.

You can listen to Puzzle in the embedded player below along with a selection of other songs from his forthcoming album, Lustmore. Alternatively you can click the direct link below the embedded player, which will take you directly to the song on Lapalux’s Soundcloud account.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly [Album Review]

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly Album Artwork
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly Album Artwork

Is Hip Hop dead? Well it all depends on who you ask. With Flying Lotus, Boi-1da and Thundercat plus many more featured on production, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was always going to be a colourful album.

At first King Kunta seems like a steady ride until the key changes start occurring at a rate faster than one’s ears can anticipate. The song seems to blend a topic of historical importance, in slavery; ‘Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, King Kunta, Black man taking no losses’, with issues Lamar perceives in the modern music industry ‘I was gonna kill a couple of rappers but they did it to themselves, Everybody’s suicidal they don’t even need my help’.

These Walls is an R&B laced and featured packed song with Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat all contributing towards the song’s final incarnation. With clean drums providing a solid backdrop, a pad, synthesizers and a lusciously warming bass all come together to provide the perfect platform for Lamar to shine.

U seems to tilt the listening experience back to the mysterious side of things. The song is a roller coast of emotions, albeit on a more depressing note; ‘Shoulda killed yo ass a long time ago, You shoulda felt that black revolver blast a long time ago’. It reveals some of Lamar’s darker moments and seems more like a moment of venting than a moral lesson.

If U presents a one-sided story of self-loathing then Alright seems to be a catalyst that might lead to a solution to that issue. The song ends in a similar manner to a number of songs on this album, with a spoken word passage.

For Sale? is another interlude, and one addressing something darker, with the seductive ‘Lucy’ representing Lucifer. The song is addressing one of humanity’s oldest superstitions in a deceptive manner, clothed in a soulful aroma.

Hood Politics as the name suggests is a politically driven number. The song, whilst essentially repetitive at a melodic level, seems to offer more in terms of thought provoking lyricism; ‘They tell me it’s a new gang in town, From Compton to Congress’.

By the time the album begins to wind down, you realize the importance of this offering from Kendrick Lamar. If not his opus magnum then the album at least marks the beginning of Kendrick’s stint as one of, if not, the top dog in Hip Hop. With many already proclaiming him as the new ‘King of Hip Hop’, Lamar shines on The Blacker The Berry.

The dynamism of Kendrick Lamar is evidently on display throughout this masterpiece. Having nearly broken Spotify with first day hits peaking at more than 9 million streams, it’s fair to say that Kendrick Lamar has reached new heights in his career.

Kamasi Washington – Re Run Home [Single Review]

Kamasi Washington - Re Run Home - Artwork
Kamasi Washington – Re Run Home – Artwork

Re Run Home by Kamasi Washington is jazz reinvented for the modern masses and future generations alike. The level of mastery on display here is largely unrivalled and sometimes goes uncelebrated.

Washington’s latest album, The Epic, features a 32-piece orchestra; a 20 strong choir, and it total, 17 songs comprise the album.

The Jazzman who has previously featured on Flying Lotus’s albums Cosmogramma and You’re Dead!, calls upon fellow label mate Thundercat on bass and his brother, Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums.

Re Run Home perfectly encapsulates what Washington and co. are all about, perfectly flawless yet seemingly unrefined compositions teeming with complimentary motifs at every turn.

Lapalux – Closure ft. Szjerdene [Single Review]

Lapalux album cover
Lapalux album cover

What do you get if you take melancholy, mix it in with  nostalgia and a talented composer? Lapalux’s new single Closure is the answer.

The 25-year-old beat maker is back and this time it’s with a taste of what to come. With his new album due for release next month it’s about time his label Brainfeeder fired up the PR machine and released a single.

Closure is atmospheric, slightly depressing and slowly builds up with the gradual introduction of interesting sounds. Featured on the song is up and coming singer Szjerdene. Closure is an interesting peak into what’s set to be an even more interesting second album from Lapalux.