TOKiMONSTA
Midnight Menu


4.0
excellent

Review

by Deviant STAFF
November 7th, 2010 | 133 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A summer album to be played at night; Jennifer Lee may be diminutive in size but her scope is massive

While trying to avoid the old adage of “don't judge a book by its cover”, it must be said that there's just something dreadfully unassuming about Jennifer Lee. While there is a joyous exuberance about her that magically fills her music with a delightful and playful spark, it astounds me just how funky she renders each cut, as if every track had been lifted wholesale from the glories of yesteryear and spliced together with magnetizing wonky effects and cosmic hip hop. There's a quiet yet powerful creative energy hidden behind those deliciously hip red glasses of hers, and at times its almost overwhelming just how far it reaches. Its no real surprise then just how remarkably quickly she was snatched up by Brainfeeder (so far the youngest and only female artist in their roster), and just how insistent the praise from the likes of Flylo and Mary Anne Hobbs has been. One only needs to look back at her delightfully ambiguous EP Cosmic Intoxication to be reminded of all the promise on offer; even her very first tracks were a spectacle, her musical blueprint shaped like a maze, her beats abstract shapes that bounced and blurred. One could almost attribute those early listening experiences as something akin to love at first sight. Debuts don't come more hyped and anticipated as this, so it would seem only fitting that Jennifer has probably never heard of the word disappointing.

As sun kissed as this album is it belongs to the nocturnal sect. Bringing to mind any nondescript smoke filled jazz club, Midnight Menu takes that concept and flips it on its head, just to see what might shake loose. While a part of that magnetizing L.A. sound that's managed to lure the likes of Mono/Poly and Daedelus and intrigued them with its hybrid of glitchy hip hop and limp-like beats, TOKiMONSTA seems to exist in her own gravity, trading in those commonplace absurdities for more ethereal melodies and decidedly ethnic overtones. She's borrowed heavily from the template, but almost purposely lost most of it in her own translation. Whereas Mono/Poly's effort relied on a suffocating and claustrophobic nature, Midnight Menu is the opposite; its music that's been let loose to play, nurtured and been given the chance to grow and stretch its legs. Its retained that futuristic and cosmic sound that's become the standard for any affiliate of the Brainfeeder time travelers, but its much more concerned with digging its toes into the sand than entering into orbit. The most captivating aspect to Jennifer's music is the amount of character she imbues in her music, just how organic the binary has become. A track like 'Madness' works so deliriously well because of its almost reflective silent narrative, allowing the strings and distant guitars to penetrate the looped beats. 'Bready Soul' ups this by throwing in trumpets and finger clicking as the anchor, the remnants of her jazz club pilfering. She synthesizes her sound from varied and assorted genres like r&b, soul and funk to create this almost cathartic music that illuminates all it touches, like a dawn ride home through a sleepy skyscraper filled city, the sun just starting to work its way through the maze.

While the majority of the album is quite happy to move you from the comfort of a well loved chair, there's still a definitive uptempo nature to a handful of the tracks that almost demand a dancefloor audience. The breakthrough single 'Sa Mo Jung' and 'Gamble' move along like a whirlwind, with the latter splicing in breakbeat over teary eyed orchestral strains. And 'Death By Disco' might just live up to its name; its retro vibe juxtaposed with heavy tribal percussion works just as well as ear candy as I'm sure it will disrupting patrons wondering what the hell happened to that lazy jazz that was on a minute ago. They evoke a nighttime environment, as does the whole album, but the more uptempo tracks hold just as much weight with the sun in its final stretches, water lapping at your feet and the hangover a distant memory. Jennifer's music almost molds itself to the setting it finds itself in; as a kickstarter to festivities it sets the tone and raises the bar, and as a closer its reflective and welcoming, a background comedown that remains intricate and expertly planned. Despite her young age, Jennifer displays an effortless mastery of her craft, an expert touch in shaping moods and inexplicable and intangible emotions, something that belies her short career. TOKiMONSTA has done more than just live up to the hype and the hope, she has crafted an album to draw you in from whatever background, whatever setting and move you into her world, be it her own studio or nightclub somewhere, perched high up on a mountain or beach level with the sun reflecting through shelved bottles. A summer album for night time, Midnight Menu is a superbly crafted debut album from one of the brightest young artists to emerge from the growing headphone hop scene of Los Angeles.



Recent reviews by this author
Flying Lotus You're Dead!Aphex Twin Syro
Banks GoddessBurial Rival Dealer
Deadmau5 >album title goes here<Mala Mala In Cuba
user ratings (83)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


Will check for errors in a minute as I'm at work, but goodbye writers block and hello Jennifer

http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/500/43758499/TOKiMONSTA+png.png

Madness: http://soundcloud.com/rufus_k/tokimonsta-madness
Death By Disco: http://soundcloud.com/panda_bear/04-death-by-disco
Sa Mo Jung: http://soundcloud.com/spa_water/03-tokimonsta-sa-mo-jung-def

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

ConsiderPhlebas
November 7th 2010


6157 Comments


Madness sounds so good. Used to listen to Mary Anne Hobbs when I worked nights, didn't realise she was still around.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


I'm not to sure if she has her radio show, but she still puts out the occasional mix album and performs sets. 'Madness' is easily one of my tracks of the year

SwagChef
November 7th 2010


283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome review, dev. pos'd

certainly helps defend your title of "best user reviewer". you should definitely throw your name in the hat for contributor the next time theyre taking applications.

as for the album, i rather enjoyed it. when soby first posted it in the forums i was skeptical because i usually really hate the musical aspects of the rap soby likes but i was impressed.

porch
November 7th 2010


8459 Comments


yeah those tracks sound cool, i'll probably get this

good review as per usual dev

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


as for the album, i rather enjoyed it. when soby first posted it in the forums i was skeptical because i usually really hate the musical aspects of the rap soby likes but i was impressed.


Good to know that more people know about this. Cheers BDog and Porch

Yotimi
November 7th 2010


6523 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good stuff. Good review.

SwagChef
November 7th 2010


283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not that my word means shit to anyone around here, but gonna propose that this get a feature

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


Thanks Yotz; obviously a 3.5 is quite a high rating, any reasons in particular why its not higher?

Bull: this album's been out for a few months now dude, its not brand new. But cheers anyway

SwagChef
November 7th 2010


283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yea i know its been out for a good while but still hip hop albums get so little features here and this is a good review of a good album that people should know about

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


Oh god, he went and did it

SwagChef
November 7th 2010


283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ive given up on my image around here deviant.

im a laughable pariah

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


Or a leper

Bitchfork
November 7th 2010


7584 Comments


or both

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2010


31357 Comments


Least you're not 13

Bitchfork
November 7th 2010


7584 Comments


But it's worse because he acts like it.

iamnotchan
November 7th 2010


669 Comments



ive given up on my image around here deviant.

im a laughable pariah

it could be worse. you could be bulldog


SwagChef
November 7th 2010


283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

[img]http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/image.php?u=443415&dateline=1289175507[/img]

Bitchfork
November 7th 2010


7584 Comments


i've never heard of bulldog. sounds like a faggor.

conradtao
Emeritus
November 7th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am so happy somebody reviewed this, album is really good.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy