Lazerbeak's "LRL" and how to consume Lava Bangers
As of Tuesday, area hip-hop producer and Plastic Constellations album Lazerbeak has a new album out, Lava Bangers.
Varying opinions have crossed the Gimme Noise desk regarding the collection -- which follows 2010's Legend Recognize Legend -- but three fellas over at Reviler weighed in effectively. Though they might not completely agree with each other, a harmony of the three voices sums up our take, and eventually powered our feelings about the finest track of the collection, "LRL."
Reviler's reviewers make comparisons to RJD2's Deadringer and Madlib's Beat Konducta series, which are both valid. Still, Lava Bangers comes a good decade after the RJD2 sound was in full swing, and even back then, he was a bit of a DJ Shadow clone. As for Madlib, the difference is strictly in the numbers. Mashing together 20 admittedly solid Lazerbeak tracks is not the same as the glut of Konducta material that comes in batches of 30-40 at a time, follows impressive thematics, and has the potential to end up as the foundation for one of the best songs put out by either Mos Def or Slick Rick since the turn of the century.
Moreso, the way people consume their music is an ever-evolving undertaking. Josh Keller notes that "many of the songs feel like shells building towards the final steps of completion," and arguably that can be part of the joy of listening. Just like the Konducta series, or arguably J. Dilla's Donuts, making guesses as to where the songs will end up -- or mashing them up yourself -- is something that a listener can't help do while experiencing Lava Bangers. So perhaps they need rappers, and perhaps they'll get 'em later on. The best songs have to start from stems, and Jon Behm calling Lazerbeak a "micro-musician working on a macro scale" keys into a forward-thinking producer's state of mind.
You can hear "Bully"/"Ay Bay Bee" here and "Cement Blocks"/"Knight Fighter" here or gnaw on some "Smash Hit" to get a sense of what is happening overall, but arguably the finest banger of the bunch is "LRL," which stands for "Legend Recognize Legend," and appears to be old enough that it could have appeared on the album bearing that name.
With this soul-infused, uptempo beat as a fulcrum, the collection reaches a gleeful balance. Could someone rap over it? Perhaps. Is it catchy enough to end up a Blackberry ad? Definitely. Will any of that matter if you just play it really loud and shake to the Left Right Left? Nope.
Bonus: Here's video of 'Beak and the rest of Doomtree documenting their current tour.
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