Demo Reviews Vol. 4

Well, it’s about that time again. I while back, I asked people to send me in their demo’s so I could review them. I did this for a few reasons:
1)Cause people always send me their music anyway and I never listen to it.
2)Cause I figure it would fill space nicely on this blog
3)Cause people seem to care what I think of their music even though they really shouldn’t.
A big part of this was me warning people that I don’t like a lot of music and have pretty picky taste. So, they would be going into this knowing that there was a good chance I’d write a pretty bad review for their music. I’m not trying to hurt feelings but my goal is to be 100% honest as to what I think of these songs. I have no stake in this so I figure there’s no harm in being honest. I’ll sure as hell be more honest than your close friends and family.
Well, I got tons of submissions in about 4 hours before shutting down further submissions. That policy is still shut. DO NOT SEND ME MORE MUSIC. When I need it, I’ll definitely let you know.
Each review will have a brief write up and then a number rating system.
The numbers are based on these 3 things
Originality: Obviously rating how much this differs from other music out there in a positive way. I’ll be shocked if anyone gets above a 5 out of 10 as this is a pretty tough category.
Listenability: Rating how hard/easy it was to sit through. This could go a few ways as I often find humor in music that’s extra bad so, it’s not always a compliment.
Production technique: Rating how well crafted the song was. Was it “professional”. How was it recorded and mixed.
But, beyond that, my real thoughts about them are in the write ups. So, as always, take it all with a grain of salt.

So, let’s go….ROUND 4.

Artist: Variex
Song:Wallflower soliloquy

I’m not a big fan of this kinda emo type rap in general. That said, this guy did a pretty good job at it. His voice reminds me of Sole or Sage Francis (I’m sure he’s sick of hearing that by now). I dunno…this is one of those songs that I hear and I think “well, it’s a well made version of something I’d never listen to”. The beat is well executed but isn’t super interesting. Basically, this isn’t for me but I bet a few of you out there will be into it.

Originality: 4 out of 10
Listenability:5 out of 10
Production technique:6.5 out of 10 (which is what I’d probably rate my own music, fyi)

Artist: We are at odds
Song: Damsel In distress

This one is definitely not ready for prime time. The rappers haven’t quite figured out rapping yet and the production just sounds like a dude playing around with a keyboard. This is kind of a perfect example of the downside of sites like bandcamp and soundcloud cause it allows people who simply aren’t there yet to put out their music for public consumption. I’m not trying to diss but there has to be a learning period where an artist just kind figures things out. When i was younger, I made the same mistake with my rap demo’s. I’d give them to anyone and I had no idea who far from ready I was. This is like that.

Originality: 3 out of 10
Listenability: 2 out of 10
Production technique: 2 out of 10

Artist:Myn Dwun Ft. Nehoc
song: Uplift or Extinguish

This as slightly insane. I like the beat but I feel as if the rapper is going out of his way to not be understandable. I literally thought half the rhymes were in a different language. The hook even sounded like a muddled mens choir. I dunno if that’s due to the mix or simply the rapper refusing to say words they way they’re pronounced. Am i to assume he’s from another dimension? If he from the future or perhaps a mystical land of rapping warlocks? I guess I’ll never know.
This is a case of someone forgoing substance for style. a style, I might add, that was done by the Cella Dwellas in the mid 90’s.

The second guy is more just your typical lyrical miracle kinda rapper. He can flow decently enough but it just doesn’t really matter. I dunno…I feel like this one was left in a time warp or something. Even the drums sound like they’re from the 90’s.

Originality: 3 out of 10
Listenability: 3 out of 10
Production technique: 3.5 out of 10 (I liked the beat but the mix was kind of an issue)

Artist:Casey Hetzler
Song: Spacetune

hmm…I really have no idea what’s going on here. I mean, I get that it’s just some sort of free form instrumental song with random organ flares and fast drums. In a strange way, it sounds like some distant off shoot of StereoLab but made by a person who’s been making music for a about 2 months. That’s what I’m guessing. This person is new to the music making game. It lacks direction and focus. I think a good thing for artists to do, when they start making music, it to think “what is the purpose of this song?”. I think that question will help out a lot in the long run when considering why we all make music and when a song is complete
Originality: 3 out of 10
listenability:3 out of 10
production technique:2 out of 10

Artist: Kool Dee Moe
Song: Man foof

Wow. That was nuts. While it was pretty unlistenable, it was also like nothing else I’ve ever heard. So, you got that going for you. I had trouble deciphering the lyrics due to the accent but I did catch “Shagging super models is my favorite hobby” and I can’t knock that, even thought his sounds like what would happen if The Streets (the rapper) got raped by some of the pikey’s from “Snatch”.

Originality: 7 out of 10
listenability:2 out of 10
Production technique:3 out of 10

song: Ultra Trife

Not bad. Not bad at all. Now THIS is what a good white voice sounds like (assuming he’s white, which he may not be). Even if his lyrics aren’t anything special, his command of his voice carries it a long way. He sounds like a dude who’s been rapping for a while and listening to the right rappers. I approve.
The beat is cool. Certainly not breaking any new ground but you can’t really go wrong with a nice soul loop. It’s like the pizza of hip hop production. At it’s worst, it’s still okay.

Originality:4.5 out of 10
Listenability:8 out of 10
Production technique:5 out of 10

song: unnamed

This is another one that sounds like a dude fucking around on his computer. It’s not the worst but it doesn’t really go anywhere. The fact the song didn’t even have a name kinda tipped me off that this my be a true to the word “Demo” and that’s what it sounds like. The sounds he/she uses sound like the factory settings for “Piano” on most somewhat crappy keyboards/computer programs. I don’t mind the drums though. This, like casey hetzler’s demo prior to it, is another one of those “What’s the purpose?” kinda tracks. I recognize that it’s a starting point for this producer but it probably should have been fine tuned and realized before it was sent to me.

Originality:2.5 out of 10
listenability:3.5 out of 10
production technique:3 out of 10

Artist: Distant Starr

I was ready to give this ten’s across the board if it sampled “Smooth” by Rob thomas and Santana. Oh well.
The rapper is pretty good. He definitely has a smooth voice that invites the listener to pay attention. I’m not crazy about the beat but that’s more just personal preference as it was made well enough. It kinda reminds me of like a Bahamdia B-side track mixed with J-dilla influences.

My only real beef with this track is the hook. It’s simply not very good. Other then that though, this is pretty solid.

Originality: 5 out of 10
Listenability:6 out of 10
Production technique:5.5 out of 10

song: Twenty Gangsters

This fucking guy. He used one of my “throwaway beats”. In fact, he used a beat I made in probably 96 or so…and it will be judged as if I had never heard it before.
Rapping wise, this is white voice personified. Nasal, off beat and goofy. Barman-esque without the clever lines.
The beat is okay but dated. I like the changes but it’s recorded pretty poorly. Overall, this is highly meh.

Originality: 2 out of 10 (make your won beats if you’re gonna send them to me , bro)
Listenability: 3 out of 10
Production technique:3 out of 10

Artist: Night:Light
Song: You should leave me

At first, I thought this was just gonna be a loop played for 5 minutes and I was pretty annoyed but this song actually evolves nicely. The first change is okay but the song really takes off when that vocal sample comes in. Well done. I gotta say, I usually don’t like instrumental tracks but this one is quite enjoyable. It reminds me of some older Bonobo and, in parts, of my own stuff.

Originality:5 out of 10
listenability: 7.5 out of 10
Production technique: 6.5 out of 10

Now, you tell me what you think:

26 thoughts on “Demo Reviews Vol. 4

    • @miles – I totally agree. And again and again. It’s that good. Unlike anything I’d heard before, well at least until I played it the second time. May I add, Kool Dee Moe has some more unique sounding tracks on his soundcloud. Well worth a listen. Top track!

  1. Variex and Myn Dwun really brought back the late 90s internet hip-hop flashbacks. Variex sounds almost exactly like Sole and is therefore awful. I kind of like the Myn Dwun track in a weird way, like they’d be a filler track on an old Foolblown compilation. The rest of the shit was either boring or just terrible.

    • I don’t remember foolblown and have never been told anything I’ve done would make good filler. Glad you almost enjoyed the track! Feel free to check other stuff out as I’m not one for aural stagnation.

      • Wow, I just read this now. Man, I’d actually never really been told I sound like Sole (maybe once?) until this review, and this comment. Damn, I am awful. Haha. Thanks for listening.

    • We know each other. I haven’t seen him in years but we were always friendly. I think Black sands is dope. He’s pretty much my favorite artist on Ninja tune.

      • thanks and this is kinda a funny story but……like acouple months ago i was tripping hard on mushrooms and listen/watched the music scene, ever since then i’ve wanted to produce my own music. Oh and great job on interludes after midnight best ablum yet!!!!

  2. Space Tune sounds like it’s from a “Mario” or “Alex The Kidd” game! Anyone remember Alex The Kidd? Anyway I think “You Should Leave Me” by Night Light is the best demo on here!

  3. To be fair, I’ve never used the word “lyrical” in my raps. Shit’s played out:) I did enjoy the review, though…

  4. While I anticipated a bad review I didn’t have you pegged as that kind of listener. I’ve heard that all nearly word for word (aside from the Cella Dwellas part… that seemed out of left field). Oh well, if roles were reversed it wouldn’t be much different.
    That said, in 04, when all of the black album remixes and mash ups were being made, I threw one together as a joke and shared with next to no one.. I literally spent no time on it and more or less managed to line these up with no effort involved. It’s the only way I’ll listen to any of the source materials oddly enough. Hope you enjoy… The Block Album.

    • I’m not trying to hurt feelings with these reviews I’m just being completely honest. But, as I stated, I’m just one guy and those are my opinions. At the end of the day, that’s all it is.

      • No feelings hurt! You’re a much nicer critic than I am most of the time… I just really don’t get the cella dwellas comparison. The style over substance comment makes sense if you can’t understand half of it and I get a lot of people who have no idea what I’m saying, but that’s usually due to speed (very much so not the case here) .

        I am interested in your thoughts on the mash up… Why? No idea as I hate mash ups… but it grew on me.

      • The cella dwellas comparison came out of the way you sued your voice. It was almost cartoonish at times. That’s really the only similarity , imo.
        As for the mash up thing, I haven’t had a chance to listen to it. But, in general, I don’t have much interest in hearing my own beats mashed up as I’m pretty sick of hearing my old beats.

  5. I see! Makes perfect sense now. Thank you for elaborating!

    Fully understand the not listening to older stuff (and mash ups). I’ve found mash ups with my beats where the vox didn’t line up and the beats were a decade old… shit wasn’t cool.

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