By: Eduardo Morales
Simplify Recordings recently released the latest effort from Elfkowitz (a.k.a. Ian Lefkowitz), entitled Psychodelic Dropout. The Chicago-based DJ paints a vivid portrait of a young man finding his way through music by way of haunting voices, computer beeps, and, bass-breaking dubstep.
The album opens with the solemn ringing of a bell, a dreary intro to “Mind Metronome.” Accompanying piano runs makes their way through the background. The song taps out with an effect eerily reminiscent of the chilly Halloween score.
The album picks up steam with its second track, “Teen Drinking.” A conflicted song with a swift beat hearkens feelings of guilt and introspection along this journey of self-discovery. “Love and Happiness” is a complete change of pace that puts the album on pause with serene blues guitar and a calming voice, reassuring the listener—and perhaps Elfkowitz himself—with a message of love.
“Too Ghetto” drops the listener into the rising action with an alert synthesizer, a warning of further conflict. A cry to ‘check yourself’ pervades the track, replicating a sensation of cleansing through the achievement of self-respect. The following “Cold Cut Killer” is a haunting song while “Triple Deke” is a calmer, more confident track with a very spacey, control room-like ambiance.
The story continues with “Shim,” a sexually charged cut that sports seductive moans and a bass that gets progressively more intense. I felt as if Lefkowitz wanted to punish his main character with the consequences of his actions, just desserts for succumbing to devilish temptation.
It’s when the album arrives at “Purrfect” that Elfkowitz seems regain his confidence. The track sports a sleek sound that oozes with cool. The titular “Psychodelic Dropout” is the most complete song of the bunch with an easy-going electro sound that plays against a soothing woman’s hum and hip-hop verse in the background.
“Get Ill” brings the album back to its hard-hitting bass roots. It’s the closest that Dropout gets to having a club song. A proclamation made to the so-called ‘party people’ and female vocals that reminded me of Real McCoy support this notion.
Elfkowitz reaches nirvana at “Best Milk.” An enticing female voice and high-pitched synthesizer lead the way into his bass routine. With “Guess”, Elkowitz carves out his own theme song with a smooth mesh of his signature bass and accompanying piano. He’s earned it.
Psychodelic Dropout is an invigorating journey as seen and heard through the mind of an up-and-coming DJ. Although the album does suffer from a bit of a repetitive sound, I was surprised by the level of emotional effectiveness throughout. It’s a journey worth taking and I could only hope that Elfkowitz has another epic electronic story on his hands for the follow up.
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