lofi

STONED MAZES - "Temperance"

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Stoned Mazes - “Temperance”

Mexico-based electronic artist Stoned Mazes brings us Temperance, a chilled out collection of spacey, wide-open tracks full of fuzzy synth loops and upbeat rhythms. This latest EP is a continuation of the cool, dreamy beats found on other Stoned Mazes releases.

The opening track, Manners, combines a hazy synth loop with scattered chiptune elements and a driving beat. Still, is a downtempo ballad with emotive keys and an exotic rhythm, The title track, Temperance infuses an energetic breakbeat with synth textures and a buzzed out lead line with just a touch of artful dissonace. Unkind Gestures is built from a clean piano loop with some nice work on the brushes and a subdued synth backing. The EP closes with Peacekeeper, which features a hypnotically cycling ambient vibe surrounded by miniature textural elements.

Overall, Temperance is a short and sweet EP that is a good introduction into what Stoned Mazes is about. It’s a light musical experience with plenty of chillwave bang for your lo-fi buck.

Gray Lee

https://stonedmazes.bandcamp.com/album/temperance

SR388 - "Where No Clouds Go"

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SR388 - “Where No Clouds Go”

(Bonding Tapes)

Plucky electronic beats with plenty of buzzy, lo-fi synths for good measure characterize Where No Clouds Go, which, according to the cover art, is an album that relates the story of a little green person who is interrupted by a shark whilst swimming to an enormous strawberry floating in the ocean.

Each of these chilled tracks has the perfect balance of thumpy beats and ponderous synth lines for a cool and fresh musical experience. The album is well represented by the second track, Braindead, which has an infectious repeating melody that is absolute ear candy. This Mess We’re In is built from a distinctive loop of 8-bit sounds, layered over with meandering winds of electronic ooze and chunky rhythms. Loaded Handshake feels like a chilled-down prologue level of Streets of Rage, featuring a building tension and driving drums.

Overall, Where No Clouds Go, is a brightly decorated collection of cool beats with some nice electronic seasoning, and just the right mixture of vintage sounds and original artistry for durable repeat plays.

https://bondingtapes.bandcamp.com/album/where-no-clouds-go

Gray Lee

[Album of the Month] BENJAMIN SHAW - "Megadead"

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Benjamin Shaw - "Megadead"

(Audio Antihero)

"Ive' got things to talk about/ I've got hell to pay" - Benjamin Shaw

Megadead may be the name  of the latest release from lo-fi indie pop artist Benjamin Shaw, but don't let the morbid name fool you. There is a lot of vulnerable, depressing shoegaze to behold here, but there is also a lot of light and hope. This is certainly one of those occasions where the cover art perfectly fits the content. Sure, there's a skeleton - but look at all that glorious daylight streaming through the window!

The production of this album blends found sounds, field recordings, and carefully executed lo-fi, indie pop songwriting to create a varied listening experience propelled by interest and sustained by detail. Much of the release feels instrumental and ambient, a sound collage of answering machine tapes, and clips of old radio broadcasts, synth compositions, and occasional inward-looking, lonely lyrics delivered by Shaw.  

Benjamin Shaw is a poignant songwriter, who favors a straight-forward exploration of personal feelings over storytelling, or metaphorical meanderings. I have recently decribed his past works as "depression rock," which was said partly in jest - but it actually fits those works pretty well. In this release, however, we see Benjamin flexing his artistic muscle, with heartfelt writings that address homesickness, boredom, weariness, loneliness and a variety of other very human feelings, all with a lightly morose and sometimes humorous air. 

Overall the subtleties and depth of Megadead superseded my expectations of what it was going to be, and I recommend you take a listen when you get a chance. It's definitely Benjamin Shaw's best release to date.  

Gray Lee

https://bnjmnshw.bandcamp.com/album/megadead