By: Sam E. Lawrence
For his latest release on Thazdope Records, BRWN BEAR takes his listeners on a melodic but deep journey through dubstep and more stripped-down beat music. Mason Brown is an exciting new act popping out of the sweaty Cincinnati scene, and our first taste of his jams caught us by surprise.
“Lookin At” is a fundamentally simple but richly textured track that matches a head-nodding beat to uplifting, anthemic vocal synths and glitched basslines. What it lacks in melody it makes up for in mood, and it serves well as an opening piece to the EP.
“Get to Work” is bouncier and more tuneful track that matches trappy drum patterns with a playful melody that dances in an elastic reverberating space behind the kicks and snares. Brown’s beat production stands out well here, but things really kick into high gear with “Then I Came Back” which is a much more psychedelic and interesting tune. Here we get more true songwriting from the author, varied sound design, and something much more fitting for a dance floor in the final product. The vocal hook is catchy and the music that supports it is dynamic and spacious, with plenty of bass to bolster things.
A return to simpler, subtler territory comes with “Magnificent Beautiful,” but some of the interesting aspects of BRWN BEAR’s songwriting remain intact. Again, the sounds are uplifting and airy, creating tons of space in the listener’s mind. While this expansive mood persists in “Losing Mind,” the tone is much darker and the basslines more formidable. There are some silly vocal samples, but they don’t distract from the overall tenor of the track, which is brooding and heavy.
None of the tracks on this EP are bangers, but I don’t get the sense that they were ever meant to be. The style is intentional and, while minimal, quite pleasant. This EP is more listening music than intended for dance floors, but there are a few moments that hint at darker things to come from this producer. Where BRWN BEAR shines is in sound design and mood, but with more focus on songwriting and melodic structure, I’m sure there will be much more great music to come in his future.
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