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“Black Noise” by Kirk Knight

By Landen Winkles

My pick of the week is from one of my favorite hip-hop collectives, Pro Era. Kirk Knight, one of the few artists I’ve been lucky enough to have seen live, dropped an instrumental-themed album titled “Black Noise.”

The first thing you’ll notice is the lovely art work that sets the vibe this album will give. Heavy, atmospheric and moderately psychedelic in tone, the sound really will hit the pallet of anyone who has enjoyed other hip-hop producers such as Madlib, Flying Lotus, and Shlohmo.

The first track completely enticed me with the lo-fi synthesizer making me reminisce about past summers listening to Kool and the Gang’s more soulful projects like “Light of the Worlds.” Throughout the album you can hear him upping the progressive nature such as “Mute,” and my personal favorite, “A.I.” The album finishes strong with a bonus track where Knight, also known as “The Kreeper,” lays some complex and meaningful lyrics that ends this project to make you feel like you had a full journey with Knight. This is definitely a project that’s worth listening to while you’re studying, working out, or even just chilling at home. The ambience brings an inner peace to your overall mood and well-being.

The focus on the production definitely shines in this project. It leaves you waiting and longing for more. After this I’ll be looking forward to him producing more for the rest of the Pro Era group.

Album Reviews 0


By Jordon Suber

Future’s self-titled fifth studio album has finally arrived. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, which aired on Beats 1, Future admitted to shutting down his social media presence around the time he started putting pieces together for an album to focus and put his all into his music.

“I wanted to give the fans all of me,” Future said. Future also said he wanted to “embrace everything including his success” on his new project. After this album, he said he wants to go back “underground” with his music. On this project Future has sought out familiar faces (Metro Boomin’, 808 Mafia leader Southside, Dj Khaled) while also adding on a new face to the lineup. DY is the producer Future has added on this album. DY is credited with three tracks on this project: “Super Trapper,” “High Demand,” and “Massage in my room.” Future has stated that “DY is the next one.” This is a huge compliment to the young producer from the mega-star.

“Super Trapper” is a reflection of the rapper’s life.. Future wanted to stay true to who he is and wanted to make the most of his environment. “Super Trapper” is taking the average person and making him into a superhero.

“Draco” is named after “Draco season,” and Future said he wanted capture energy with this title. In the DJ Khaled co-produced song, Future raps, “I got my empire up like Lucious.” I think the song is amazing and I love a good TV reference. In my opinion every song is a head-banger and I have a hard time choosing a favorite.

This unexpected album is nothing but fire. Future wanted to take his music in a new direction when he felt he earned the prestige and delivered on his promise.

Album Reviews 0

“Brett Young”

By Jimmy Sears

Brett Young is a newer artist who recently raked in a “Number One” hit with “Sleep Without You.” Born and raised in California, Young was inspired by Gavin DeGraw. Young released a self-titled EP in 2007 and eventually made it in Tennesee. Now he releases another ambitious EP also titled “Brett Young” on February 10.

Young claims his sound is of the “California” persuasion, though admittedly it comes off as a typical country fair, with banjos and the poppy Toby Keith sound that’s common with modern country music. Maybe if one cuffs their ear a slight hint of Beach Boys could be heard, however this is more country than anything. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; my Yankee-roots love to embrace its southern surroundings by guzzling beer and listening to sentimental songs about relationships past, but as I listened I found most of the album redundant.

Many tracks, such as “Sleep Without You,” are about relationships, as the constant spouting of “baby” suggest. The melodies carry an optimistic flair to create a driven prose that masks its common themes. Young’s vocals also carry a light-hearted yet rugged sound that is each track’s strong point. However, while music itself is easy to hear, I find the constant relationship sentiment to be overplayed, which made each track sound similar to the last.

Album Reviews 0

‘”Oczy Mlody” by The Flaming Lips

By John Samuel Mecum

The Flaming Lips have had a quiet couple of years. Apart from accompanying Miley Cyrus on her “Dead Petz” project, the psychedelic-rock journeymen have kept to themselves. They are back and in full-swing with their latest release, “Oczy Mlody.” This hypnotic, fifty-eight-minute album focuses more on a vibe than it does telling a story. Not to say that it doesn’t have a story to tell, it does; one about sunsets that last for three hours, frogs with demon eyes, and sex on top of unicorns. The thing that sticks with you throughout the album however is not the narrative: It is the deep textures of the sound and the depths that The Flaming Lips take that sound to as things progress. This depth causes this album to feel more like an hour-long hallucination that gently carries you from beginning to end rather than a collection of songs that are isolated from each other.

The album starts off with the title track, a pulsating instrumental with a simple melody that bounces around and sets the mood for the rest of the album. This track does not showcase the depth and layers of sound that develops as the album goes on. “How” and “There Should Be Unicorns” feature a thick heavy synth that begins to scratch the surface of how far down the rabbit hole goes. From there the music flows in a way that feels reminiscent of old Flaming Lips albums, or the spaghetti-western guitar that somehow feels totally appropriate among the synths and electronic beats. Miley Cyrus who, as mentioned earlier, having spent a good portion of last year with The Flaming Lips is also rumored to have been an influence on the modern rap-beat sound of “Oczy Mlody.” Cyrus can be heard singing on the last song of the album, “We a Famly.”

Not to say that there weren’t some rough patches on the album. Some of the rap-like beats sound a tad forced. It drags in some areas and feels a tad incoherent in others, however one may argue that the incoherence is a staple of The Flaming Lips sound. The biggest issue is probably the slow start as the album begins and starts to take shape. Even with a couple bumps in the road, “Oczy Mlody” is well worth the trip taken, and is a good introduction for those not yet familiar with The Flaming Lips.

Album Reviews 0

“Identity” by Far East Movement

By April Latham

“Identity” by Far East Movement was released on October 20. I used to be a big fan of FEM, but to be honest, I fell off the wagon a bit, so when I heard that they released new music, I was pumped!

Now, if you know me, I am a big fan of strong intros that catch their audience. They missed the mark on this one. It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong, but it could’ve been stronger. The rest of the album has a smooth vibe to it, but I can’t help the feeling that it’s missing something. They have the nice beats that I remember, but there’s something about it that makes me not want to keep this in rotation. “Identity” is a solid album for some people, but I would only recommend this album to people if I know for a fact that they are into this kind of music.

2.5 out of 5 OWLS.