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Friday, November 27, 2020


Review: Spazzkid’s new “Desire” album

The era of chillwave, electro-pop music has been having its way around the streets as the hybrid genre continues to contribute decorated artists — Toro Y Moi, Purity Ring and Washed Out being the most popular of the bunch — and it continues to expand with Spazzkid, who samples heavy, glittery instrumentation in his new album “Desire” take to some interesting levels of innovation.

Filipino L.A. native Mark Redito, who took on various monikers before sticking with Spazzkid,
had released a few underground projects before this new album on his bandcamp page. All three of his albums were practically the same in terms of style. “Blank Stares,” “Fake Accents,” “Right Now” and some remix compilations had been constructed with a beginner’s tools and mindset, and such attributes were evident in the final project. Some songs flowed with vivid, chimeric-sounding atmosphere while others were bland.

What separates “Desire” from any of Spazzkid’s past works is the heightened sense of
awareness, production quality and overall aesthetic makeup. Listeners will immediately notice a striking Japanese influence in some of the track’s samples and will also take note of the abundant down-tempo  hip-hop drums that carry throughout the 8-track instrumental album.

There are plenty of xylophone and piano instruments laced within tracks like “Getting to Know
You” and “40 Winks.” Both of these intimate tracks harbor some sporadic yet seamlessly executed transitions with drum changes and mesmerizing samples. Through these beats, Spazzkid showcases his ability by switching between a mellow pace to a double-time breakdown.

Along with this track, “40 Winks” and “Forgiveness,” which are arguably the best tracks on the
project, hold interesting build-ups from the start of the song and comes swinging with a resounding
finish in the end. Both tracks are very light-hearted in the samples and synths used in background. For
the latter track, the loud, hard and authoritative kick drum that is present throughout is beyond
satisfying. These opposite elements work well with the gentle tone conveyed.

“Loving Free” is a pool that a lot of fans will want to dive into upon first listen. The track is a
high-octane and club worthy dance track. Spazzkid’s vocal accompaniment, complete with its spacey and trance-influenced structure, makes this song the most energetic of the batch.

“Candy Flavored Lips,” featuring Skymarines, is an easily skippable track. It’s obvious that Spazzkid had put a lot of work into this album in terms of working with unique elements that give each song a certain characteristic. These elements, however, didn’t flow through with this particular track. The drums are dull, and it seems like Spazzkid didn’t play around with the hazy loop in the background. To make matters worse, Skymarine’s vocals takes an already damaged ship and pulls it further down under the sea. Lyrics in the song are hard to make out and the singing sounds unmotivated.

Although Spazzkid didn’t have a concrete theme in “Desire,” the idea of timelessness fits
perfectly. Each track sounds a lot longer than it should and that could partially be due to a lot of moving
around within every second of the production. Fans of Toro Y Moi and How to Dress Well may find that Spazzkid borrowed a few of their features, but Spazzkid’s level of production exceeds beyond many artists within this small yet gradually popular genre.

Summer is here, and the soothing sounds of “Desire” are perfect for the season. Spazzkid has put out a beautifully crafted project for those looking for light-hearted, sample-based experimental beats.

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