Free the Robots: The Mind's Eye Album Review
Date: Aug 22, 2011 (Monday)
by Gracie Roberts
Free the Robots has cast aside all traditional meaning of the word “genre” with his productions. Pulling from the worlds of jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, and electronic music, Free the Robots has generated an unlikely harmony among disparate sounds, which has resulted in an altogether new musical sensation. What began as a side project of Chris Alfaro back in 2003 has morphed into something wholly unrecognizable. With his wide-ranging knowledge and experience in music, Alfaro brought everything under one roof to craft his unique vision. Free the Robots has reached a worldwide audience and shared the stage with top electronic artists like Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73, and The Glitch Mob.
Free the Robots has elevated his catalog with the unveiling of his EP The Mind’s Eye on Alpha Pup Records. This short, sweet collection of five tracks takes the listener on a journey that is both surreal and disturbing. The hypnotic nature of Alfaro’s newest creation encourages eyelids to close as it sinks into the dark, hidden places of the mind.
“The Free” opens the EP, bombarding ears with a knuckle-crushing knock and shape-shifting beats. This piece of mechanical clockwork gives way to the title track, “The Mind’s Eye,” which entices listeners to perceive music and sound in a new way.
“Prototype B” allows an ephemeral ray of light to penetrate the darkened world that is The Mind’s Eye. However, the voices inside your head return at the onset of “Dance of the Deadbeat,” a tune that resurrects the remains of a deceased carnival. Although ghostly, this catchy melody contains a hint of jazz that keeps it playing on mental repeat.
The dirty pieces of this energy-filled EP shake loose in “Rattlesnake,” an upbeat relative to Alfaro’s slower sounds. “Rattlesnake” leaves the listener uplifted, but the hypnotic trance is unwavering.
A spot on the highly regarded Alpha Pup roster is all the reward a young producer might desire. Sandwiched between brilliant superstars and seasoned veterans who are pushing the boundaries of art and sound with each release. It’s enough to overshadow even the most talented auteurs. In the case of Free the Robots, and certainly his latest release, Alfaro might be turning the tables on his labelmates. Let’s see what the full-length brings.