Album Reviews: Catch Up

These are some album reviews Lachlan Stevens has written over the last six months.

Arca – KiCk i

Arca has been very hit or miss with me in the past. I haven’t really found a project of hers that I have really liked. That’s mainly because her past albums and EP’s have felt too abstract for my liking. They are full of interesting ideas that are never developed enough for me to want to revisit them again.

Thankfully, ‘KiCk i’ fixes all those issues. It is a varied record full of both intense tracks and tracks that are more melodic and laid back. The inclusion of collaborations from Björk, Shygirl, and SOPHIE are awesome to see. They all interplay with Arca’s production super well.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Time
2. Riquiqui
3. Afterwards
4. Rip The Slit
5. Machote
6. Watch

Score: 4.0/5


Ben Lukas Boysen – Mirage

‘Mirage’ is my first introduction to Ben Lukas Boysen and I have to say, I was very impressed. The album reminded me of Jon Hopkins mixed in with a bit of Rob Clouth and Max Cooper.

The sound design and textures featured throughout ‘Mirage’ is just outstanding. Every one of the six songs is rich full of spectacular sounds. They also all feel unique and varied with some tracks being fairly ambient and others sounding heavier and epic.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Empyrean
2. Kenotaph
3. Medela
4. Venia
5. Clarion

Score: 4.5/5


Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

‘Punisher’ is an absolutely brilliant sophomore LP from Phoebe Bridgers. It features some of the best instrumentation I’ve heard all year. It also balances its epic orchestral pieces extremely well with its more mellow and sombre songs. I should also mention Phoebe’s vocal performance which is just outstanding and is the true force behind ‘Punisher’ that makes it one of the year’s bests.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Garden Song
2. Kyoto
3. Punisher
4. Halloween
5. Chinese Satellite
6. Graceland Too
7. I See You
8. I Know The End

Score: 4.5/5


Max Cooper & Bruce Brubaker – Glassforms

‘Glassforms’ is an interesting collaborative from Max Cooper, Bruce Brubaker and Philip Glass. For the most part I think each artist works relatively well together. There are a couple of songs that feel like Max Cooper’s contribution is fairly unnecessary. However, there are two or three tracks that sound really cool and showcase a great melding of Max Cooper’s electronic production with Bruce Brubajer and Philip Glass piano compositions. I do feel the album is quite slow and because of that it lost my interest at various points; especially during the longer cuts on the record.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Prelude 4
2. Opening

Score 3.0/5


Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo

Excellent production combined with excellent rap performances makes ‘Alfredo’ one of the best hip-hop releases of 2020. The Alchemist’s beats and samples are brilliant and works superbly with Freddie Gibbs’ hooks and rap flows. On top of all this there are many killer features on this project; in particular those from Benny the Butcher, Tyler, The Creator, and Conway the Machine.

Favourite Tracks:
1. 1985
2. God Is Perfect
3. Frank Lucas
4. Something to Rap About
5. Babies & Fools
6. All Glass

Score: 4.0/5


Minor Science – Second Language

Every so often you stumble upon an album that reminds you why you love music. Thankfully this happened to me when sorting through some new artists on Spotify. I came across this British musician I had never heard of called Minor Science and thought I would give his album ‘Second Language’ a listen… I’m so glad I did. This album was absolutely insane! I can’t even begin to describe how fantastic it was. There were moments when I was listening to this where I had my mouth wide open in just pure disbelief. This was especially the case for the end of ‘For Want of Gelt’ which I have to say is one the best electronic songs I have ever heard in my life. The whole album is full of moments like this and is never for a second boring or repetitive.

Minor Science has gone above and beyond with ‘Second Language’. It is such an exciting album to listen to and is by far the best LP I have heard all year.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Balconies
2. Polyglottal
3. Spoken and Unspoken
4. For Want of Gelt
5. Blue Deal
6. Gone Rouge
7. Voiced and Unvoiced

Score: 5.0/5


Run The Jewels – RTJ4

‘RTJ4’ is an awesome LP from Run The Jewels which reaches the same heights that were achieved on their 2014 album ‘Run The Jewels 2’. The record flows super well and features consistently solid production that is both powerful and varied. To add to this, the vocals on this project are fantastic and compliment each of the backing instrumentals really well.

I guess the album isn’t very groundbreaking and doesn’t really take the Run The Jewels project in any new territory that hasn’t been explored before. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t detract from the quality of work that is on display in ‘RTJ4’ which currently stands as one of my favourite hip-hop releases of 2020.

Favourite Tracks:
1. yankee and the brave
2. ooh la la
3. out of sight
4. holy calamafuck
5. goonies vs. E.T.
6. walking in the snow
7. the ground below
8. pulling the pin

Score: 4.0/5


Photay – Waking Hours

‘Waking Hours’ is the most fully realised Photay project to date. It is a brilliant combination of organic instrumentation with experimental electronic sound design and production.

Photay’s 2017 LP ‘Onism’ seems to have been the first tease of where he could take his music. I remember hearing that album a couple years ago and being totally blown away by its uniqueness and Photay’s attention to detail in his production. Now hearing ‘Waking Hours’, it is now clear to me Photay is one of the most talented and forward thinking electronic artists working in the industry right now. The album is layered, vibrant, and features some fantastic vocal performances throughout. It also flows extremely well.

Favourite Tracks:
1. Existential Celebration
2. Warmth in the Coldest Acre
3. Is It Right?
4. Fanfare for 7.83 Hz
5. The People
6. Rhythm Research
7. Pressure

Score: 4.5/5

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