TOKiMONSTA: Creature Dreams

It seems as though every fifth person in California has their fingers placed firmly on a sampler, making experimental beats and lifting samples from obscure corners of the universe. Perhaps L.A knows something the rest of us don’t, or maybe they’re putting something in the water? With Beat maestro Flying Lotus having set up his own record label within its borders and music running parallel with its history, the reason is far from a mystery.

TOKiMONSTA is one of the very talented artists releasing music through the aforementioned record label Brainfeeder. Her first E.P was what you’d expect from an ensemble of musicians and producers with such consistent depth and experimentation running through their sound. Midnight Menu squeezed jazz and instrumental hip-hop together and persuaded them to spoon lovingly for 11 tracks. Her newest effort is both reminiscent and a big step forward, coaxing her audience towards fresher territory. Never send a man to do a woman’s job.

The variety of instruments and sound in the opening track are a warm welcome. Reverb soaked percussion ushers in mellow guitar samples and an experimental vibe which suggests an interesting direction for the rest of the E.P. While the first track does nothing wrong, I see it as more of a prelude to track number two. Little Pleasures introduces the first sign of a truly melodic sound; the floating vocal sample is made even more beautiful by the melodic synthesizers and walking baseline. I think of it as proof that her style can reach further than experimental beats, instead being able to maintain a consistent direction through wonderfully selected sounds and percussion.

Any remaining melancholy daydreams vanish when the space aged, synthesizer lead Bright Shadow punches through with a heavier “dance” vibe. It’s a return to the experimentally instrumental, two words which could be used often to describe this E.P. I do however feel that over using them would be an insult. She’s far beyond the point of mismatching obscure movie samples with African tribal drums to achieve an “obscure” style. From the third track on, the experimental often sits side by side with one which is more beautiful and structured.

This E.P gets a big, clichéd thumbs up for being able to bury an RnB/Jazz/Hip-Hop record beneath an ocean of interesting and bizarre sounds and noises. The beauty is amplified with personality, accentuated by TOKiMONSTA’s ability to project hyperactive emotions and thoughtful musings and shape them into an urban symphony.