Paper Estate has kindly featured the music of Two Years Before & Look See Land on their front page. Check it out!
The first track is Crusaders. It immediately sets the tone for this EP. The first thing to address is that musically, this sounds like a demo taken straight from the 80s Thrash scene, which is probably what they were looking for, the only problem with that is that the quality also matches that time period. The demo was recorded on a small budget, but even still the quality leaves a lot to be desired (an issue more with whoever recorded the Demo, but also a heads up to the band to chose their next studio/producer more carefully). Each track has similar issues; backing vocals could be toned down a little and drums can be a bit sloppy at times and sway slightly in and out of time.
The overall feel of the demo is that some members (the guitarists) of the band were more ready for the studio than others. Beyond that (with the exception of production) everything was okay. Keeping in mind that this is a band of 20 years olds with a hundred dollar budget, things could have been a lot worse, but they could also be better. It’s a good start and the demo serves it’s purpose as just that; a demo, but it also leaves the impression that with more practice and time together as a band, they could go on to much better things.
“Funktioning Girl"starts with Ol’ Look Out which sounds like a live jam demo more than a full song, and although it’s good, it’s definitely missing something. This is made even more evident by the fact that it has been chosen as the opening track (which perhaps wasn’t the best decision) and the huge jump up in quality from this and the next track Basa. Although not the best track on the album, the offbeat flow of the track and electro-jazz/funk influences set the tone for the release a lot more than the opener. The City and SMS are both short and sweet (the latter being the much better) songs that just float by in a good way. SuperHuman Being had the potential to be one of the stronger tracks on this release, but I personally feel the spoken word section of the song was far too long and just took away from the song in general. The production on the track is still very pretty though.
Interlude with the Four Roses Society felt unnecessary among a collection of tracks that are even shorter in length than this. Alright to the Sun worked as a nice change of pace and style from the rest of the release. I felt as if this track is what Ol’ Look Out could and should have been in terms or delivery and positioning within the album. 2(4) is a very well produced and generally pretty sounding piece, that goes well in to Baby Keys and Beatbag, which I feel are the three strongest tracks. Each of them are well produced, pretty, and focused. Beatbag has some brilliant sample work and the change-ups in the beat are perfect, and help make this my personal favourite track from Funktioning Girl.
Serious Betta is another very strong track, but just not quite as good as the previous three. It does however, serve as a nice comedown of sorts as the end of the album approaches, and goes well in the the closing track; Funk’s Outro, which not only ties in well with the name of the artist and the release, but ties the album up quite nicely.
Overall this is a very well produced, and chilled out release. Pretty is the best way I can describe it, but I feel that leaving a few tracks off this release would have improved the overall quality and earned it a much higher mark.
sifts describes his music as “Haphazardly Experimental Electronic”. After listening through his beat tape, I would say that this description is apt.
Track 1(MoonSafari) is a very good indication of things to come with lush synths and offbeat drums reminiscent of producers like Flying Lotus or J Dilla. Well mixed and well composed, the track cuts off abruptly into a brand new track of more of the same, however, that is not a bad thing (9).
Track 2(Laika) comes in with gorgeous reverberating synths and funky bass (8). Track 3(Post Human) follows, with a reverb drenched vocal sample and sound effects of water. The drums are just about cohesive enough to not seem messy (7). It cuts off abruptly and goes straight into track 4(Werewolf Glitch) which gives off a similar vibe as the previous track but quickly changes things up into a fast paced glitchy, sped up video game sounding mess of sounds (which isn’t a bad thing) (8).
Track 5(Future Lander) comes after and while showing off some very nice synths, doesn’t progress enough in it’s short time. The following two songs, both over 4 minutes, seem to be the centrepieces of this tape and rightfully so. Composition wise they both progress quickly into very well structured songs (8). Track 6(MetroPop) features very crisp and clear bass that practically forces your head to nod. The drums follow the pattern set by the previous songs and while nice enough, don’t really stand out (9). Track 7(SoulSpace) is the jazziest and probably my favourite song on the tape. It takes it time to really build or progress but when it does, it’s worth the slow build of a wait with creamy funk and jazzy synths. The drums really stand out here with the fills on the toms making everything seem much mow alive than any of the other songs (10).
Track 8(Vertigo) is a glitchy, pitched and strange song. The vocal sample at the forefront goes in and out of various pitches and formants giving the entire song an odd vibe. The drums seem a bit too messy for me, personally. There’s nothing really wrong with the anal squaelch song but there’s nothing that really makes it stand out, especially after the song previous(7). Track 9(Afterbruns) is another jazzier effort which has a very pretty vocal sample coming in every so often. Descending synths and shakers made this another song which makes me want to bop my head along with it. I feel that it could have been made better by shortening a little bit as it does not progress as much as i wanted it too(8).
Track 10(Planetry) is probably my least favourite song on the tape, not because it’s not good or badly produced or anything, but more that it seems like an undeveloped idea, a good idea, that hasn’t been developed or finished. The african-esque drums and strange water sounds give it a nice vibe but the whole song just feels a little pointless(7). Track 11(Manhattens on Vega) has a great flowing baseline with spacey synths filling up the rest of the space. The drums are fine, if a little done before. However, like the previous song, feels a bit too short to warrant any sort of critique beyond that it’s a solid interlude(7).
Track 12(Astrosoph) is a low-key, chilled out, spacey song. It’s all very well put together and everything just sits right with the odd vocal sample and the occasional reversed rise. The drums kick in and carry the song out till it’s close and finish out a very nice relaxed song (8). Track 13(Wave) feels almost like a summary of the entire tape, with electric piano, offbeat drums, gorgeous textures and short running time. It does do anything new other than transition us from one track to another but it does that very well(8).
The final two songs bring things to a close pretty nicely with track 14(HyperCalm) being a very mellow, relaxed effort with very nice trap/hiphop hi-hats leading into it’s companion piece (7), track 15(Infinite) which making you feel like you’re coming out a strange, jazzy, offbeat hip-hop influence dream (8).
My main problem with doing this review was that, i was enjoying it so much, i forgot i was meant to being listening in order to critique it. At a run time of only 30 minutes, it’s 15 song tracklist flies by. I have individual criticisms on each song which are above but on “Lunographs” as a whole, i can’t really find much fault. It feels like a very well executed vision of an artist who, in my opinion, deserves to be much more popular.