Saturday, 25 April 2020

πŸ’Ώ LINDSAY LOWEND — LL 2020 - VOLUME 1

⌾ LISTEN TO LINDSAY LOWEND, LL 2020 - VOLUME 1 EP ⌾

Back in 2013, Lindsay Lowend released an incredible collection of music: the Wind Fish EP. It popped with energy, combining hyperactive dopamine-firing electronics and footwork-flavoured beats with videogame music for an unforgettable sound. With the added bonus of being, in title at least, inspired by a unique Zelda title (Game Boy bop Link's Awakening, of course), Lindsay Lowend set a bar of quality for early '10s internet music.

And then he was gone — sort of. Lindsay Lowend maintained an output of a few sporadic tracks from then on, and even an album under his actual name, Antonio Mendez — 2018's Highland Drive.

Meanwhile, the Wind Fish EP, and its creator, drifted into legend.

- But now like Link himself in a legend retold, Lowend has risen and released LL 2020 - Volume 1 into the world: a 3-track EP that enlists the help of fellow VGM-leaning musicmaker Maxo.

Beginning with a dose of chiptune, 'NBA LIVE 99' shares the funk-meets-jazz club vibe of its namesake's soundtrack (check out the NBA Live 99 menu music, for starters) but keeps it strictly 16-bit. The bass fuzz and staccato beat, stuttering melodies and glittery top notes carve a territory somewhere between Streets of Rage and an off-duty Sonic the Hedghog, moving into a second half beset with hefty chords and fluid neon melody. It's a party.

In 'should my pet be eating that' (lol), the sound morphs into something more contemporary, plasma chords clacking with wonky sheen — similar to the spacey vibe of the 'Wi-Fi Menu' theme in Mario Kart Wii and the stark, soft-and-sharp intro to Dizzee Rascal's 'Sittin' Here'. It presses on, driven by a robust D&B-flavoured beat (a passage of skiffling breakbeat dropped in for good measure), the warm melodica-esque chords and a woozy virtuosic melody painting a the by-the-sea vibe.

'Permabanned' (again: lol) finishes things up beautifully. Like admiring a sunset with new pals on Animal Crossing, this is Lowend's effervescent collab with Maxo, streaks of melody like sun sparkling on water playing over a chord progression that K.K. Slider would be proud of: lounge-y, emotive and dipping into pools of chill, snippets of real-life birdsong peal between the instrumental (it's not his first foray into foley, going by this Breath of the Wild redub) — a trickle of reality from your window. An echo, maybe, of Wind Fish title track with its crashing waves and beeping seagulls.

The first multi-track release from Lindsay Lowend in years may be short, but it hits the spot: pure chiptune, VGM-style atmospheres, variegated beats, a lush environment. And if you're left wanting more, that's ok: LL 2020 - Volume 1 is just the beginning.


  • πŸ”” You can listen to and purchase ($1, or more if you're feeling generous) Lindsay Lowend's LL 2020 - Volume 1 over on his Bandcamp.

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Thursday, 2 April 2020

🐣 BIG HEATH — PLAN

⌾ LISTEN TO BIG HEATH, PLAN ⌾

Cambridge rapper Big Heath unveils his plan in the video for, well, 'Plan'. Set in a support group for something or the other, Heath jumps up and delivers bars in fast-paced triplet flow, packed with dynamic layering and laced with humour throughout. For example, from the moment he uses "porkie pie" (Cockney rhyming slang for "lie", FYI) and then busts out

"Yo, I rap the brothers that wake up early in the morning just to eat a Weetabix"

the level of humour is real.

Added to this is the intricate ticking and rolling of hi-hats of the trap-flavoured beat, and dusty music box instrumentation for a spooky backdrop, allowing for a juxtaposition in light of Big Heath's humour — something that pelts you throughout the track, and sometimes poignantly.

Speaking about rappers who "take a life then... rap about it," he sums up that it "doesn't make that stuff right." As always though, he jokes to get the point across:

"Yeah I could've been up in the street
Could've shot a coupe Gs
Could've served a couple fees
But that really weren't for me
I could not run from police"

Self-deprecating, funny, self-admittedly feeling "happy just to be alive" when he's rapping, and shot through with positive messages, 'Plan' shows Big Heath as a refreshing addition to the UK's rap scene.



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