Monday, November 15, 2010

Leonard Dstroy "Higher Vibrations"

While FlyLo and his Brainfeeder collective have firmly established LA as the hub of life around the ever growing “beat” scene their influence has escaped and begun to seep into the ears of creators all over the world. This weeks bandcamp excursion brought me to Leonard Dstroy from Kansas City.

I don’t know much about KC, but I wouldn’t of expected something like this cooked up in the town’s city limits. Dstroy uses a wide array of synths, bleeps, bloops, and crazy mechanical like roars. Often times he is incredibly melodic with his construction of rhythms merged with the synthesizer noises.

Leonard has a knack for delivering really hard drums on his tracks. He doesn’t go for an up tempo mood too often, he likes to keep things more cerebral. On a track like “Mojave” he let’s the beat build, then where a hook would go if it were a typical song sees several elements of sound added, I can’t even begin to explain the levels to which he is layering things, you will hear new aspects to things upon every listen.

The album is full of this. He is not at all shy when it comes to chopping up and tweaking things. He’ll have a vocal sample play, slow it down all the way into a grinding clicking noise, but at the same time be having the volume of it reduced all the while he’s brought in some keys, some atmospheric effects, and flipped the drums up. He doesn’t fail at keeping the listener intrigued.

His track evolution is awesome. Instrumentalists can far to often fall into the trap of just making beats that have no depth to them. Dstroy isn’t making beats in the traditional sense. Many of these tracks wouldn’t suite an emcee, and the emcee that does decide to rock some of these deserves all the attention he can get.

A few vocalists do join the party. Reggie B belts out some excellent lines on “Trying to Find My Way” over an off kilter drum beat. He harmonizes with himself and has a beautiful voice. It sounds like Dstroy added some effects to B’s voice as well, which helps it in the mix feel like part of the beat rather than just someone doing their own thing over it.

“Higher Frequency” sees Brother of Moses make an appearance. The track is toned down on bleeps and blips for Moses to spit bars. He doesn’t stand out how I’d prefer to hear a rapper on a beat but if you take the time to listen to him, you won’t be disappointed. The beat is bubbly, with a happy vibe behind it, you’ll be smiling while you listen no doubt.

Higher Vibrations put me in a mood every time I listened to it. It’s not dark or grimy, it’s something else. While Leonard Dstroy may have been inspired by some peers with longer track records he owns his music here demonstrating that his style is all his own. The record is something to be heard as an album. Individual songs here are cool, but I’m not inclined to go to anyone individually. I just want to put this on at the front and let it ride.

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