Album Review: Wide Arches – Farewell to All the Lovely Things


Wide Arches’ debut album, “Farewell to All the Lovely Things,” serves as a multi-faceted mirror reflecting both the artist Jacob Gorzhaltsan’s personal growth and the universality of human experience. In a time when many were isolated and disconnected, Gorzhaltsan reached across the void to create a rich tapestry of sound and emotion. The 12-track, 42-minute album is both a musical journey and a testament to human resilience and creativity.

The Album’s Creation and Jacob Gorzhaltsan’s Evolution

The album’s inception is as fascinating as the content itself. Recorded individually by musicians at their home studios during the pandemic, the process took Gorzhaltsan on a three-year learning curve. Studying mixing and recording, he turned limitation into creativity. This do-it-yourself attitude forms the very fabric of the album, making it a genuinely personal project. Collaborating with other talented Canadian musicians and mastering by Justin Gray adds a polished finish to this heartfelt project.

An In-Depth Look at Key Tracks

1. Pictures in the Sand:

This track showcases Gorzhaltsan’s ability to translate complex emotions into lyrical poetry. The metaphor of pictures fading in the sand is beautifully juxtaposed with the human struggle against time and change. The melody is equally mesmerizing, filled with longing and introspection.

2. Fake Smiles, Artificial Laughs:

Here, Gorzhaltsan takes a step into social commentary. This track is a cutting critique of insincerity and superficiality. The wordplay is sharp, the message is clear, and the music is perfectly aligned with the song’s subject matter, making it a standout piece on the album.

3. Roadkill Cafe:

A haunting reflection on death, existence, and the passage of time, this song adds a philosophical dimension to the album. The lyrics are deep and contemplative, supported by an arrangement that is both eerie and beautiful.

The Wider Spectrum of the Album

Other tracks also contribute to the album’s overall cohesion and emotional resonance. “Sadness Wears Her Prettiest Dress” and “Lake Scene” add to the heartbreaking emotional spectrum, while “Upside Down” and “Wasting Away” lend a quirky, tongue-in-cheek energy.

The broad array of instruments and musical textures is impressive, invoking both classic and contemporary folk influences. From the tender strings to the resonant brass, the instrumental richness adds depth and variety to the listening experience.

Emotional Connection and Lyrical Brilliance

The true genius of “Farewell to All the Lovely Things” lies in its ability to connect emotionally. Gorzhaltsan’s lyrics are not merely words but vivid images, painting pictures that speak to the heart. Whether it’s the aching nostalgia of “Lake Scene” or the lively jest of “Fake Smiles,” there is a genuine, palpable emotional connection.

The influence of renowned artists like Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan is apparent in the narrative storytelling. Yet Gorzhaltsan’s unique voice shines through, making this work undeniably his own.


“Farewell to All the Lovely Things” by Wide Arches is a true artistic triumph. It’s an album that transcends mere entertainment, providing a soulful reflection on life’s myriad complexities. The blend of lyrical depth, musical innovation, and personal authenticity is rare and refreshing.

The journey that Gorzhaltsan undertook to create this album reflects a broader human journey of overcoming adversity, embracing creativity, and seeking connection. Each track is a stepping stone, guiding the listener through various emotional landscapes.

Whether you find solace in the comforting words of “Ballerina” or feel the rebellious energy of “Upside Down,” there’s something in this album for every listener. It’s not just music; it’s a companion that offers solace, challenges thought, and celebrates the beautiful chaos that is life.

In a world often filled with noise and haste, “Farewell to All the Lovely Things” is an invitation to pause and reflect. It’s an embrace of the authentic and a celebration of human connection. An extraordinary debut by a talented artist, this album is a must-listen and a beautiful addition to the folk music landscape. It’s a farewell to superficiality and a heartfelt welcome to all that makes us human. The album doesn’t just play; it speaks, it connects, and it stays with you long after the last note has faded.

Album Review : ZZ Ward – “Dirty Shine”

In the gritty heartland of contemporary music, where many voices get lost in the glitz and glamor, ZZ Ward emerges as a beacon of authenticity with her latest release, “Dirty Shine”. It’s not just an album; it’s a renaissance of a gifted artiste, unchained and unrestrained.

Upon the first beat of “Welcome to Dirty Shine,” ZZ makes it clear: she’s charting her course, shedding the trappings of major labels and the pressure to conform. You’re not just listening to songs; you’re peeling back layers of an artist’s journey of self-discovery.

Her independent streak shines brilliantly in tracks like “Ride or Die” and “On One”. They resonate with a pulsating mix of blues and hip-hop, two genres that have clearly molded her but now seem to be articulated with a fresh zest. “On One,” especially, is an anthem of empowerment, an ode to newfound strength in motherhood.

Yet, it’s not just about the music. With “Dirty Shine”, the narrative comes alive with cinematic flair. Collaborating with her brother, Adam Ward, the visual storytelling — particularly with the mini-movies for tracks like “On One” and “Forget About Us” — is vivid, a juxtaposition of past musical influences with futuristic storytelling.

“Friends Like These” is a testament to Ward’s profound bond with the blues. The track feels like a smoky room in an underground blues bar, with ZZ’s voice winding its way around listeners like tendrils of sweet tobacco smoke. Contrastingly, “OverdoZZe” is a rollercoaster, deftly juggling genres, demonstrating the audacity of her musical experiments.

Her deep roots in blues, imbibed from her father’s rich collection of iconic titles and further nurtured by performing in his band, intersect fascinatingly with hip-hop, a love she inherited from her brother. These intersections are what make “Dirty Shine” an intriguing listen. It’s like watching an artist paint on a canvas with colors from two different palettes, yet making them blend seamlessly.

Her identity, bound intricately with her fedora, is another facet that the album brings out. More than a fashion statement, it stands for her transformation — from a nervous performer to a confident artist. And in this album, you can feel that confidence permeate every note.

Tracks like “North Bank Blues” and “Cut Me Loose” show her range, from melancholic melodies to foot-tapping beats. Meanwhile, collaborations with artists like Aloe Blacc in “Tin Cups” further elevate the album, providing nuances and depths that make it a rich auditory experience.

To label “Dirty Shine” as just an album would be a gross understatement. It’s a celebration — of freedom, of authenticity, of musical genius. ZZ Ward hasn’t just produced tracks; she’s crafted stories, emotions, and experiences.

In “Dirty Shine”, the dirt is real, raw, and rich, making the shine all the more dazzling. This isn’t just a musical feast; it’s an assertion, a declaration, and most importantly, an invitation to experience music in its purest, most passionate form.

Album Review: Cigs Inside – BlickyBlam

The Pacific Northwest has long been known as a breeding ground for revolutionary sounds. From the grunge movement of the ’90s to the indie rock rise of the 2000s, this region has consistently delivered fresh takes on established genres. Enter CIGS INSIDE, a Boise, Idaho-based electro-hop trio pushing the boundaries of experimental hip-hop. Their newest offering, BlickyBlam, is no exception. With a return to a more distilled production and a clear focus on lyrical depth, the album signals a bold step in a new direction.

Leading the album’s charge is the single “Don’t Know Where To Start.” Released on September 1st and accompanied by a music video, this track encapsulates the overarching theme of the album. CIGS INSIDE, comprising members ieke, Coleman, and Sstrawberry, takes listeners on a journey from personal chaos to introspection, self-rediscovery, and finally, resurgence. This track, with its catchy hooks and rhythmic undertones, delves deep into the process of rebuilding oneself after a personal downfall.

BlickyBlam starts off with the aptly named “Intro,” a brief yet potent glimpse into the sonic universe the trio has crafted. By the time “Anecdotes” begins, listeners are fully immersed. The raw energy of this track, sets the tone for much of what is to come. “Lunar,” offers a slightly softer, melodic contrast but retains the distinct CIGS INSIDE vibe, merging electro-pop with hip-hop elements.

Tracks like “Actin” and “That Time” showcase the band’s ability to tap into the modern zeitgeist, blending contemporary production with a certain nostalgic flair, reminiscent of ’80s alternative. The fusion of breakcore, R&B, and their clear appreciation for modern rap adds layers of complexity, making BlickyBlam an album that rewards repeated listens.

“High Steppin” and “Apple Pie” further demonstrate the trio’s versatility. While the former is a pulsating, shorter number that seems tailor-made for energetic live performances, the latter is a more extended exploration, possibly touching upon themes of Americana and personal histories.

One of the album’s most intriguing elements is its exploration of emotional extremes. The band doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of human experience, addressing themes of overextension, recklessness, and the subsequent emotional fallout. However, the overall arc of BlickyBlam is one of redemption. Each track serves as a stepping stone on the path from chaos to clarity, from self-doubt to empowerment.

For fans of artists like JPEGMAFIA, Playboi Carti, and 100 Gecs, this album will undoubtedly resonate. Yet, thanks to its unique blend of influences and the trio’s undeniable originality, BlickyBlam is an experience in its own right. There’s a rawness here, a sense of artists pushing their boundaries while staying true to their roots.

In an age where music can often feel overproduced and devoid of genuine emotion, CIGS INSIDE offers a refreshing change of pace. BlickyBlam is an album that feels both intimate and expansive, deeply personal yet universally relatable. With its release on Mishap Records set for September 15th, 2023, BlickyBlam is poised to be one of the standout experimental hip-hop albums of the year. Those of you in the Boise, ID area should check out the album release show planned for the 15th.

To sum it up, BlickyBlam isn’t just an album—it’s an experience, a journey through the human psyche, and a testament to the resilience of the spirit. CIGS INSIDE, with their authentic sound and raw lyrical content, beckons listeners to join them in their exploration, and it’s a trip well worth taking.

Album Review: Marissa Burwell – Either Way EP

From Saskatchewan’s heartland, Marissa Burwell crafts a resonant indie-folk tapestry in her latest EP, “Either Way.” After the success of her full-length 2022 album “Bittersweet,” Burwell returns, marking a more intimate and reflective step in her musical evolution.

Opening with “Coward,” the EP invites us into a vulnerable space, exposing the fear and hesitation often hidden deep within. Burwell’s lyrical prowess paints a visceral image of a person bound by fear and societal expectations. Her self-exploration echoes in the very chords, resonating with a universal human condition.

The standout track, “Kiss Her,” ventures further, challenging heterosexual norms with lyricism that touches the soul. Burwell’s voice carries a weight of experience, reflecting the societal complexities surrounding relationships. Supported by Lana Winterhalt’s haunting clarinet, this piece is both a musical and thematic triumph.

The emotional crescendo continues in “You’re Not Trying Very Hard.” The melancholic melody intertwines with lyrics of longing and fear. It’s a lamentation and a warning, a complex emotional weave that captures a sentiment so uniquely human.

A significant strength of the “Either Way” EP is Burwell’s collaboration with producers Madison Nicol and Chris Dimas, and fellow Regina musicians Tom Duffy and Lana Winterhalt. This collaboration fosters a rich musical landscape, where each track is a world of its own, yet together they form a coherent and captivating narrative.

The final track, “Either Way,” concludes the EP, encapsulating the entire experience into a contemplative and philosophical exploration of life’s unpredictability. It leaves the listener in a state of introspective wonderment, pondering the questions and themes so delicately crafted throughout the album.

Beyond the individual tracks, “Either Way” is a testament to Burwell’s growth as an artist. The EP reflects a maturity and depth that not only sets it apart from her previous work but also raises the bar for indie-folk storytelling. Her ability to blend profound lyricism with tender musicality results in an experience that transcends mere auditory enjoyment.

Furthermore, the EP’s release via DevilDuck Records marks an exciting phase in Burwell’s career. With performances at renowned venues like the New Colossus Festival and the El Mocambo, and an upcoming appearance at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, there is a palpable momentum in her journey.

However, the profundity explored in “Either Way” may feel overwhelming to some, and at times the introspective musical tone might not cater to every listener’s taste. But that’s what makes this EP an exquisite piece of art rather than a mere collection of songs.

In essence, “Either Way” is a resonant journey into the human soul. It’s a thoughtful commentary on societal norms, an intimate reflection of unspoken experiences, and a soul-stirring exploration of love, hope, and healing. For readers seeking more than a fleeting musical diversion, “Either Way” is an essential listen. Its nuanced exploration lingers, inviting you back again and again, each time revealing something new. It’s a masterful indie-folk creation that showcases Marissa Burwell at her finest, and it stands as a beacon for what contemporary music can aspire to be.


Boorloo/Perth’s very own Wesley Black is no stranger to the alternative genre scene, seamlessly weaving together alternative rock, punk, pop, and hip-hop. His latest offering, the three-track EP titled ‘EVERYTHING WILL CRASH AND BURN’, serves as an explosive testament to this versatility and his propensity for blurring boundaries.

The EP kicks off with a volatile bang in ‘READY2GO’, a tour-de-force of Wesley Black’s diverse musical prowess. It’s an auditory roller coaster, merging aggressive punk elements with infectious pop melodies, and marking a defining moment for Black’s ever-evolving sound. His lyricism, raw and unfettered, becomes an anthem of resilience and self-realization, encouraging listeners to embrace the chaos of life.

‘UR NOT MY MUM’, the EP’s second installment, is a no-holds-barred fusion of surf-rock-punk riffs, seasoned with tenacious breakbeats and Black’s fiery rapping. It’s a sardonic, high-octane track that makes no apologies for its brazenness. With piercing lyrical wit and audacity, Black delves into the intricacies of ego and self-exploration, painting a vivid picture of internal chaos and longing.

The EP’s concluding act, ‘I GUESS THAT’S ME’, showcases a darker, more introspective side of Black. The distorted guitars and his signature snarky vocals cut through the mix with precision, culminating in a reflection on identity, transformation, and the acceptance of one’s limits. It’s a provocative finale, emphasizing the fleeting nature of life and the remnants we leave behind.

Beyond the frenetic rhythms and pulsating bass lines, there’s a profound lyrical depth to this EP. Wesley Black’s musings on ego, self-confidence, and the transient nature of existence serve as a contemplative underbelly to the project. This juxtaposition of raucous instrumentals with introspective lyrics provides a rich sonic tapestry, capturing the essence of youthful rebellion against the inexorable passage of time.

In his own words, this EP is a “project for the moment,” a testament to the urgency of living in the present. It’s a musical reminder that while we may burn with fervor and passion, there’s an inherent ephemerality to life, and all we can truly control is the legacy we leave in our wake.

Brace yourself for a short but fiery ride with ‘EVERYTHING WILL CRASH AND BURN’. Wesley Black’s signature sound is back, fiercer than ever, proving once again that in music, as in life, boundaries are meant to be broken. This is not just an EP; it’s a statement. Buckle up and immerse yourself in the whirlwind that is Wesley Black.

Album Review – Paultra Violet – We’ve Already Happened

A shift in the digital age is upon us—a moment where virtual corridors are more than just pixels; they’re memories, emotions, and desires. Paultra Violet’s “We’ve Already Happened” embarks on this journey, giving a voice to the collective consciousness, teetering between digital anonymity and real-life yearnings.

The landscape of the album builds a noir-infused backdrop that pulsates with the energy of the post-punk era, yet blends effortlessly with the coldwave textures and moody pop underpinnings. Tracks such as “Val or Never” and “Glow Up Wolf” resonate with rhythmic urgency and are saturated with the kind of cybernetic atmosphere that mirrors the technological realm we inhabit.

“I Will Find Your Heart,” the album’s opening track, sets the pace, reminding listeners of the inherent human need to connect. This theme of seeking connection in a digitalized world persists throughout. The titular “We’ve Already Happened” propels this narrative further, hinting at the idea of pre-existing connections and destinies already charted, challenging our perception of time and reality.

Delving into “Honestly I Always Knew,” there’s a soft acknowledgment of an anticipated disconnect. The arrangement, melodious yet haunting, embodies the self-awareness and acceptance of the digital age’s transience. But while it may seem contemplative, the sonic journey Paultra Violet offers is neither bleak nor hopeless. It’s a call to awareness.

The soundscape of the album seems as if it was conjured from the very fibers of the digital web itself, with songs echoing the sentiments of human souls navigating this vast network. Every song tells a story, painting portraits of transient digital relationships, yearning for real-world connections, and sometimes, the blissful chaos that intertwines the two.

Among the ten tracks, the closer, “Here’s To You,” emerges as a poignant ode. Emanating nostalgic warmth, it captivates with its sonic layers, evoking a sentiment of mourning for the past while finding beauty in the fleeting present. It’s as if we’re standing at the shoreline, gazing out, with seagulls echoing our sentiments and the ocean reminding us of the vastness of our existence. This audial environment is a testament to Paultra Violet’s masterful storytelling.

Diving deeper into the artists themselves, the synergy of Joey Palestina, Spencer Miles, and Joel Hunter Martin is evident. Each brings a distinctive artistic flair, whether it’s from film, avant-garde compositions, or innovative production. Their collective narrative approach, drawing from cinematic and musical inspirations alike, is what sets this album apart. They aren’t just musicians; they are narrators of the digital age.

In a time where endless scrolling, fleeting interactions, and digital noise dominate, “We’ve Already Happened” stands as a lighthouse—a beacon guiding us through this modern maze. As the trio reminds us, while we might be adrift in this expansive virtual sea, there’s still a heartbeat, a pulse, a humanity that resonates within us all.

Paultra Violet’s debut doesn’t just stand as a statement; it beckons listeners to pause, reflect, and perhaps find solace in the knowledge that in this vast, interconnected digital realm, our human essence still thrives. And as we navigate this new age, albums like “We’ve Already Happened” will serve as the anthems that keep us grounded.

Final verdict? It’s not just an album; it’s an experience, a voyage into the heart of digital modernity. Don’t just listen—immerse yourself. We’ve already happened, but the journey is only just beginning.

Album Review: Alan Chang – Check Please

Few journeys are as intriguing as those of the individuals behind the curtains, the ones who drive the creativity yet stay out of the limelight. Alan Chang, best recognized for his long-standing association with Michael Bublé, is a name that resonates in the music industry as a co-creator of some of the most memorable tracks of the past two decades. With “Check Please,” his debut solo album, Chang emerges from the shadows and strides confidently into the center stage, showcasing his profound depth as an artist.

Kicking off with “Natalie Explain,” the album starts on an electrifying note. The song is filled with infectious grooves, giving listeners a glimpse into Chang’s multifaceted musical world. It’s an entrée that stirs up anticipation for what’s to come. Following this is the already popular “Love As A Weapon,” where Chang deftly combines jazz overtones with contemporary vibes. With its sultry beats and a memorable chorus, it’s easy to see why this is the lead single. “Let’s Not Come Down,” the third track, is another tour de force. Radiating a smooth, contemplative aura, it’s a testament to Chang’s versatility and a beautiful end to what could be seen as the album’s impressive opening trilogy.

While the record starts off with a bang, it doesn’t mean the latter songs are any less compelling. “Rest of My Life” exudes a slower, introspective energy, perhaps alluding to Chang’s journey and self-realization during his transition from Bublé’s right-hand man to a solo artist. “Only Sight” and “Ms Finicky” carry the middle part of the album, both serving as clear indications of Chang’s deep-rooted jazz sensibilities. These tracks pay homage to his beginnings, his childhood love for the genre, and the countless hours he spent honing his craft on the keys.

The star-studded ensemble shines, especially with Pino Palladino’s bass riffs syncing harmoniously with Chang’s keys, while Dave Koz’s sultry saxophone adds a layer of elegance to the album, evident in tracks like “Aperitif.”

“Set Me Free” is a lyrical gemstone. There’s a hint of autobiography here, potentially reflecting Chang’s own journey, his ‘amicable divorce’ from Bublé, and his newfound freedom to express his authentic musical identity. “Favorite Of The Gods” stands out with its unique charm, while the closing track, “Wander,” acts as a poignant full stop to the album. It feels like Chang’s sign-off, a promise of more to come, and a note of gratitude for the journey so far.

A recurring theme in “Check Please” seems to be introspection. Chang’s work is an exploration of his personal and musical identity. While he admits lyricism sometimes feels like a “homework assignment,” it’s evident he has poured his heart into this project. Each song is a piece of Chang, a snippet of his life and his musings, infused with his passion for the piano.

For longtime jazz aficionados and fresh listeners alike, “Check Please” serves as a masterclass in modern jazz-pop fusion. The album’s 30-minute run time feels neither too short nor overbearing, making it a concise but deeply satisfying experience.

To sum it up, “Check Please” isn’t just an album; it’s Alan Chang’s soul laid bare, encapsulating his growth as an artist and his deep, unwavering love for jazz. It’s a testament to Chang’s brilliance, demonstrating that while he might have been a force behind Bublé, he’s a dynamo in his own right. Chang’s debut establishes him not as a background player but as a central figure in contemporary jazz, and one can’t help but eagerly await his next act.

Album Review: Monochrome Midnight Traveller – Reality Spaces EP

In an age of vibrant maximalism and oversaturation, there is a brave beauty in an artist’s intentional understatement. Monochrome Midnight Traveller (MMT) challenges the norm with “Reality Spaces,” a two-track EP that merges Shanghai’s ambient nightscape with a minimalist, bass-heavy audial journey. Hailing from Shanghai—a city that brims with neon lights and a cacophony of sounds—the duo plucks inspiration from its nocturnal aura, translating it into a unique blend of breakbeat, hip-hop, downtempo, and ambient genres.

The EP serves not just as a musical experience but as a carefully curated audiovisual presentation. Music and visuals—two distinct art forms—are entwined so intricately in this project that they almost cease to exist without the other. For MMT, the process is visual-first: the emotion derived from black-and-white imagery guiding the sonic production.

“MMT – Spaces,” the opening track, sets the tone with its spacious, breakbeat ambiance. As its name suggests, the song is ethereal and vast, evoking feelings of wanderlust. Its bass is resonant yet understated, a constant throbbing presence beneath airy synth progressions. There’s an allure in its steadiness—a grounding force amid the whimsy. Paired with its accompanying video, listeners are transported to city streets, the quiet moments just before dawn, as they move between gazing at worn-out shoes and the distant stars.

The subsequent track, “MMT – Reality,” is a sonic dichotomy. Embodying themes of both reality and illusion, the track blends trip-hop’s rhythmic nuances with dubstep’s wobbly bass lines, all while maintaining a mainstream downtempo appeal. The result is a song ripe with contrasts. Ethereal vocals float over heavy, somber bass, and simple monophonic synth riffs bring a sense of nostalgia. The accompanying video—an exploration of a trippy night jungle—complements the song’s mood perfectly, further solidifying MMT’s knack for creating harmonious audiovisual experiences.

While “Reality Spaces” consists of only two tracks, totaling just nine minutes, it feels anything but brief. Time seems to blur as listeners are drawn into MMT’s world—a world where music and visuals are not just complementary but symbiotic.

An aspect of MMT’s artistry that’s impossible to ignore is their focus on the beauty of simplicity. From the monochromatic aesthetic to the stripped-back, bass-heavy beats, there’s an emphasis on less being more. This is particularly evident in their utilization of heavy, distorted bass and kick, elements often used to amplify a track’s intensity. Yet, in the hands of MMT, these components are reimagined, repurposed for a more laid-back, after-hours sound. It’s electronica, but not as we traditionally know it.

In conclusion, “Reality Spaces” is more than just an EP—it’s a statement of artistic intent. It’s a call to listeners to experience music in a more holistic manner, where visuals serve not as mere accessories but as essential elements of the narrative. For those yearning for a retreat into the ethereal, into the quiet contemplation of city nights, MMT’s “Reality Spaces” offers a portal. Through it, one might just find that space where reality blends seamlessly with dreams.

Album Review: MISSIO – I Am High EP

In a world saturated with quickly-consumed singles and fleeting viral moments, the Texas-based duo, MISSIO, offers a breath of fresh air with their introspective and genre-blending EP, “I Am High”. As they continue to carve out a distinct space within the contemporary musical landscape, Matthew and David unfurl a tapestry of emotions, presenting a work that resonates with authenticity and musical innovation.

The “I Am High” EP is an embodiment of MISSIO’s characteristic fusion of alternative rock, hip-hop, and electronic music. Yet, rather than merely resting on their laurels, they elevate these familiar soundscapes with fresh and innovative touches. The eclectic nature of the tracks, coupled with the duo’s unmistakable energy, creates a sonic experience that’s as immersive as it is entertaining.

Opening with “Good Vibrations”, MISSIO immediately sets the tone for the EP, encapsulating listeners in a rhythmic web of melodies and beats. The journey then gracefully transitions to “Easy”, a track that, in its title alone, showcases the laid-back vibe the duo wishes to convey, juxtaposing the heavy thematic elements present.

Tracks like “Thang Thang” featuring DEADFOOT and “Big Stacks” with Jelani Blackman lend a hip-hop edge to the project, with pulsating beats and infectious hooks that showcase MISSIO’s versatility. Their collaborative prowess is undeniable as they merge seamlessly with their featured artists, culminating in tracks that are both familiar and freshly innovative.

“Papi Chulo”, perhaps the most enigmatic track of the collection, delves into a sultry and mysterious realm, while the closing track, “I’m Coming Home”, serves as an introspective conclusion, allowing listeners a moment of reflection.

The thematic core of “I Am High” lies in the duo’s personal exploration of escapism. As MISSIO aptly elucidates, the term ‘high’ transcends mere substance abuse, encapsulating the myriad ways individuals detach from reality. This EP serves as an aural representation of this multifaceted escapism, from social media obsessions to food indulgences. It is this raw and authentic portrayal of universal human experiences that makes MISSIO’s work resonate deeply with listeners.

Tracing their journey, MISSIO has consistently evolved and reinvented their sound, from “Loner” in 2017 to “VILLAIN” in 2022. Their billion-stream accolades, prestigious performances at festivals like ACL and Lollapalooza, and recognitions from revered outlets like Billboard and Rolling Stone, all hint at their meteoric rise and their unwavering commitment to producing genuine music.

Yet, what stands out most in their recent endeavors is the thematic series that began with “I Am Sad” and now transitions to “I Am High”. This bold series tackles the gamut of human emotions, challenging listeners to confront and reflect upon their own emotional journeys. It’s an ambitious endeavor, yet if “I Am High” is any indication, MISSIO is more than capable of achieving their artistic vision.

To sum it up, MISSIO’s “I Am High” EP is not just a collection of tracks but a holistic experience. It’s an invitation to confront our daily vices, to dance in the face of adversity, and to find solace in music. As MISSIO continues to release their series of emotion-centered EPs, they solidify their status not just as musical artists but as keen observers and chroniclers of the human experience. One can only eagerly await what emotional landscape they’ll traverse next.

Album Review: Laeland – look at the mess we made

Within the multifaceted sphere of modern music, genres continually evolve, bleed into each other, and sometimes birth entirely new forms. Laeland, the Mississippi singer/songwriter/rapper/producer, has situated himself at an interesting crossroads of these genres with his latest offering, “look at the mess we made”. The 10-track album, out now through Nettwerk, cleverly fuses acoustic folk, RnB, and lofi hip-hop, effectively blurring the lines of categorization.

Drawing inspiration from the ephemeral fragility of relationships, likening it to the shattering of glass, the project feels like an aural kaleidoscope of emotions, providing an incisive and intimate examination of the very nature of relationships and their inherent volatility. The album’s title and its encompassing theme capture the essence of Laeland’s perspective: that of unexpected disarray and the contemplation of its aftermath.

Starting with “Just Give Me Something”, a collaboration with Snøw and Boy Nobody, the listener is immediately taken into Laeland’s introspective realm. Heralding from his signature “sad rap” style, which gained prominence during the late 2010s, this track exudes both vulnerability and introspection against a backdrop of lullaby lo-fi trap beats. This atmospheric melding is representative of the sonic journey Laeland orchestrates throughout the record.

Tracks like “Dumb Luck” and “Are We Wasting Our Time Again” feature Skinny Atlas, a collaborator who aids in weaving a textured sonic tapestry. Here, Laeland’s storytelling prowess shines, further echoed in tracks like “u never call” and “i wish u cheated sooner”. The raw, confessional nature of these compositions serves as a reflection of Laeland’s emotional depth, an attribute nurtured since his choir days in Mississippi.

Perhaps the album’s most touching moment arrives with “dear lovrr,” where Laeland’s mother provides a soul-stirring outro. This inclusion not only adds familial warmth to the project but also accentuates the deeply personal essence that the entire album embodies.

Laeland, born Bradley Davis, has always donned his heart on his sleeve, a sentiment rooted in his chosen moniker – Let’s All Embrace Life And Never Die. This guiding mantra is palpable throughout “look at the mess we made”, and especially in tracks like “i don’t wanna fall in love again” and “tell me to fall and i will”. Each song is a vignette, a window into Laeland’s soul, revealing his introspections, desires, regrets, and hopes.

Despite Laeland’s recent surge in popularity from the viral TikTok moment of “i’m inlove but…” in Kazakhstan and Russia, this album steers clear of pandering to viral fame. Instead, it delves into the intricacies of human connection and the feelings of isolation even amidst global recognition.

The album’s production, largely shaped by Laeland’s vision, dances between minimalist acoustic sections and rich, genre-bending instrumental segments, creating a soundscape that allows the listener to journey through various emotional states. The lyrical content, often anchored in relationship woes and loneliness, consistently feels genuine and unfiltered.

By keeping his circle of collaborators intimate, with the inclusion of close friends like Skinny Atlas and Snøw, Laeland ensures that the album retains its cohesive, genuine touch. It’s evident that every song, every note, and every lyric was chosen with intention, crafting a musical journey that feels both expansive and intimate.

In “look at the mess we made”, Laeland offers listeners a magnifying glass into the world of modern relationships and self-reflection, while also pushing the boundaries of lofi hip-hop. While the album spotlights his evolution as an artist from his 2018 beginnings, it also teases at the vast potential and new heights he’s yet to reach.

Conclusively, “look at the mess we made” is a testament to Laeland’s masterful articulation of human emotions and his ability to wrap them in innovative sonic arrangements. It’s an album that doesn’t just ask you to listen, but to truly hear and reflect. For those seeking profound emotional exploration and genre-blending artistry, this record is not to be missed.