By: Eduardo Morales
Alpha Pup Records brings us a new EP from TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee), a Los Angeles DJ who brings her musical creations to life in the middle of the night. Through Creature Dreams, Lee takes the listener through a relaxing dreamscape with help from an unconventional mix of classical instruments and guest Gavin Turek's harmonizing vocals.
‘Fallen Arches’ begins our journey with a smooth, polished beat that incorporates escalating guitar strings with an electronic sound that I could only describe as ethereal, building up as we get deeper into the dream.
That transitions into my favorite track, ‘Little Pleasures’. Gavin Turek assists with vocals for the first of two times on the album. Turek’s voice is a perfect mix for Lee’s ear-massaging sounds. Her soothing set of vocals bring to life a vivid image when she sings, “I can see the sun through the rain…little pleasures”. Lee gives her guest a lot of room to breath and works with her sound. The result is complete bliss.
‘Bright Shadows’ picks up the pace with an unconventional mix of sounds, including a set of bongos, synthesizer, and an occasional distant female vocal in the background. The sound reminded me of Radiohead’s recent album, King of the Limbs in its urgency.
The fourth track, ‘Moving Forward’, brings back the bongos with sonic tones that are accompanied by bleeps and bloops halfway through. The sound of the bongos brings a grounded, cultural sound that plays as a perfect contrast with the overall futuristic vibe.
‘Stigmatizing Sex’ introduces the EP to the 1950s Sci-Fi movie sound of a Theremin, giving the track a very eerie vibe.
‘Darkest’ brings back Turek’s incredible vocals and mixes it in with a very romantic set of guitar strings, creating a very emotional ending for the dreamscape’s climax. The EP caps off with ‘Day Job’, a very dark, dreary track that reeks of Monday morning. A harsh guitar joins a heart-thumping set of drums that bring the message home – the dream is over.
With Creature Dreams, TOKiMONSTA has created an EP that lives up to its name. The very surreal sound of the dreamscape makes for one of the best, and most unique, collections of the year so far, which is made especially effective during the after hours.
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