1. Winds of Change
It speaks volumes for how long we’ve been waiting for the debut Brainfeeder album from Mono/Poly that when Flying Lotus first got in touch with him about doing something for the label, it was via Myspace. The wait, though, has been worth it. Specializing in a kind of beat-driven cosmic soundscape which he describes as “electronic-classical-alchemy music,” Mono/Poly aka Charles Dickerson has drawn on the lessons he’s learned from collaborating on last year’s Thundercat album as well as the Flash Bang Grenada hip hop project with Busdriver and Nocando, and made a beautifully realized, endlessly expansive record.
From the first orchestral trills of “Winds of Change” you know you’re in for something special. As the track builds the listener notices not only the content but also the production chops – this is a record which sounds exactly as big, glossy and up front as its creator wants it to. Rebekah Raff adds scintillating harp work to “Transit to the Gold Planet,” but it’s the way Dickerson integrates it and builds on it which is really special. “Ra Rise” sounds like sunbathing in space, Niki Randa’s abstracted topline vocal warming you right through. Title track, “Golden Skies” uses a looping piano riff reminiscent of Bach, Thelonious Monk and Wu Tang on E, all at once, without sounding like any of them. Add sternum- thrumming bass to that and you know exactly what’s what. “Alpha & Omega” does something clever with slowed down d&b licks and tweaked vocal snips. “Empyrean” features Mendee Ichikawa (of the band Free Moral Agents), an ethereal, ghostly presence. “Night Garden” sounds like a drive through the dark streets of an alternate LA. “Euphoria” uses a simple, military-style snare and then twines keyboard lines over it until it’s lifted into the sky. Thundercat joins in on last track, “Gamma,” and adds some perfectly-judged low-end riffing to anchor Dickerson’s keyboard swirls.
Mono/Poly has been a name to watch since his debut, The George Machine, back in 2009. His 2011 EP release for Brainfeeder, Manifestations, was supported by artists as diverse as Radiohead and Erykah Badu and his work on Thundercat’s Apocalypse established once and for all the quality of his productions. With Golden Skies he has laid down a marker to any other “beat maker” out there. Because with a genuine producer with this much talent, everyone else needs to aim a little bit higher – up towards the golden skies.
From the Album IN MY WORLD
Director: Miko Revereza
Director of Photography: Lonnie Francisco
Wardrobe: Elena Stonaker
Special Thanks: Joel Levin, Sinziana Velicescu, Diva Dompe, Love McQueen
01. In My World
Brainfeeder’s de facto New Age guru and all-around production wizard, Matthewdavid, returns with a sophomore full-length for the label, an all-inclusive Mindflight entitled In My World. Unlike prior LP Outmind, which was a largely ambient and inward journey, In My World expands exponentially to a multitude of lavish sound worlds ranging from the lush, vaporous pop dub of the title track, ethereal love jams like “Cosmic Caller” and “Next to You Always”, uncharacteristic IDM breakbeats on “West Coast Jungle Juke”, and a languorously crystallized cover “Perpetual Moon Moods”. Every densely atmospheric track is liberally punctuated with Low End Theory-approved doses of speaker-rattling sub-bass. The album, for all of its masterful production techniques and intriguing lyrical twists, is held together by a unifying theme of love — the most powerful force in the universe.
In My World begins with some quick scratches— a nod to Matthewdavid’s origins in hip-hop, however the following material is anything but. From its title track — “We can rap or sing; don’t matter to me.” Or take the lyric from mid-album highlight “Artforms” — “I’m feeling all the artforms start to blend together.” Whether embellishing his recordings with handmade visual accompaniments or effortlessly synthesizing musical styles, Matthewdavid’s work revolves around diverse and compelling combinations. Rapping or singing, the producer’s vocals are pushed forward as the centerpiece of this album. Rightly so— with a freshly minted marriage and the recent birth of his first child, the Los Angeles-based dublab resident and head of Leaving Records has an abundance of wonders to vocalize.
An invitation awaits, a beckoning call to a beautiful paradise forged by imagination. Final track “Birds in Flight” encapsulates the message — “We can only dream a dream that’s dreamt from the Mind’s Eye.” Inner and outer worlds merge into an idyllic reality — life as a psychedelic and self-willed vacation. Infinity looms large here, with a watchful eye towards unseen yet strongly felt intricacies of a futuristic and frail modernity. “As long as we have Love,” Matthewdavid assures us, the world may never end. If the title of his free EP Producers in 2012 Learn to Spread Love was selectively aimed at fellow beatmakers, then In My World encourages listeners to now follow the artist’s example and do the same