Demo Reviews vol. 52


rhyme-warrior-ink-demo-tape
Hi there and welcome to another edition of Demo Reviews. You guys sent me music so i could give you my worthless opinion on it. I am not currently accepting demo submissions so hold your head until I open that up. It’ll be a while so don’t bother asking “when?” right now. “Months” is the best answer I can give you.
Anyway, the reviews work like so:
I listen to the song once, write a paragraph about my feeling towards it and then rate the song from 1-10 in these arbitrary categories:
Production
Vocals
Listenability
Originality

That’s about it. This weeks batch had some solid moments. I almost feel like, cause I’ve been doing this so long, people are sharpening their game. That’s nice for all of us.

Artist:Burning Bright
Song:Apathetic


This is a tough call for me cause it’s both very well made and executed but got a couple of things that don’t appeal to my personal taste. The beat is well made. The rapper is skilled. It’s even got a good concept. Problem is, I don’t really get into reggae/rap hybrid shit too much and , as solid as he is, the british rap thing still is a speed bump for me. I KNOW I KNOW, I’m a nationalist rap asshole but the heart wants what the heart wants. But, that’s just me and this is clearly a job well done outside of my petty grievances.
Production:5.5 out of 10
Vocals:6 out of 10
Listenability:6 out of 10
Originality:5 out of 10

Artist: Aralass
Song: Cloudcatchers


Well damn…this is good. Dope mood, simple yet effective beat with enough other things going on to show it’s not just a lazy jazz loop. The first rapper is dope. The second, not as much but he doesn’t ruin it. Kinda sounds like a nervous Kendrick lamar.
My biggest complaint would be the part between the two verses. Is that a hook? A bridge? Whatever it is, it’s way too long and abrasive , considering the rest of the song. Kinda fucks the flow up a little. In fact, without that part, i’d probably go a number up in each of the ratings.
Production:5.5 out of 10
Vocals:6 out of 10
Listenability:6 out of 10
Originality:5 out of 10

Artist: Burn & Loot
Song: Close as kept


Another solid song. What the fuck is going on this week? Weird.
The beat is an interesting mix of electro shit and typical hip hop. I don’t like the drums but it’s well done, otherwise. The rappers are solid. I can’t say either of them would really stand out anywhere but they also wouldn’t ruin a song either.
Production:5 out of 10
Vocals:5 out of 10
Listenability:5 out of 10
Originality:4.5 out of 10

Artist: Grounded astronauts
Song: Jack (Mr. Daniels)


This guy got one of those late 90’s sounding voices that’s almost cartoonish. It’s funny cause he’s like a soft , colorado version of what Ill bill started sounded like.

Anyway, not crazy about him but he says some clever things here and there. As well as a few corny things. It’s a crap shoot.
The beat is fine. I don’t really like it and it’s way more chaotic than it feels at first but it’s not poorly made or anything.
Production:4.5 out of 10
Vocals:4.5 out of 10
Listenability:4.5 out of ten
Originality:4 out of 10

Artist:Kaseta
Song:B – Blue


I like the main piano loop, but off the bat , the drums are telling that this is the work of someone who is still starting out. While they have a definitive 90’s feel to them, the sounds themselves are kinda janky. That could be just cause the mix is a little suspect though. Outside of that, this is pretty nice musically though. It’s definitely a throwback tune for sure.
Production:5 out of 10
Vocals:n/a
Listenability:5.5 out of 10
Originality:2 out of 10

Artist: Warren Peace
Song: Egg nog heavy


Eh…This isn’t bad or anything. There’s just nothing drawing me in. The rapper can rap but he sounds asleep and like he’s reading it off paper. The beat is one of those vaguely jazzy, yet moodless piano based joints that seems to get made all the time.I dunno, I just file this under “Just kinda there”. Nothing to be ashamed of though.
Production:4 out of 10
Vocals:4.5 out of 10
Listenability:4.5 out of 10
Originality:4 out of 10

Artist: It’s me, Sissy
Song: The one


This sounds like an 80’s song instrumental if it was made with all plug in sounds. Like I can just hear taylor dane singing over it.

Outside of that, it’s pretty one dimensional. The songs doesn’t really go anywhere and relies heavily on that opening riff, that isn’t particularly a good riff to begin with.
Production:4 out of 10
Vocals:n/a
Listenability:4 out of 10
Originality:4 out of 10

Artist: The Dingo
Song:Where I’m headed


Hmm…so this is just a poorly mixed beat or nah? Yeah, that’s what it is. It’s a chopped up loop with some drums and brief break. That’s it. Some rapping on it might help it but, even then, it’s pretty boring. And, most of all, it most certainly isn’t a song. Not even close.
Production:3.5 out of 10
Vocals:n/a
Listenability:4 out of 10
Originality:3 out of 10

Artist: Soul Define
Song: Keep it moving


This is solid in all facets but, ultimately, just another normal rap song. Every part of it is well done. The rapper is on point but it’s all well covered territory under the “boom bap struggle raps” umbrella. The beat is well done too but it’s a simple loop and drums with heavy primo influences. I feel like this is some shit people who are still excited about breakdancing might be into. It’s that “real hip hop!” shit that I think I’ve grown bored of cause , well, I’ve been hearing it forever. But, like i said, it’s good for what it is, without question.
Production:5 out of 10
Vocals:5 out of 10
Listenability:5.5 out of 10
Originality:3 out of 10

Artist: Noogat
Song: Breathless


This is one that, from the first note i get the feeling it is not really in my wheelhouse. I was not mistaken. This is some electronic, rumble-y fart music. That said, I feel like it would be good to score a movie or something. I could see people being chased down corridors to this. Not so much to just sit and listen to on it own though.
Production:4.5 out of 10
Vocals:n/a
Listenability:4 out of 10
Originality:4 out of 10

So, What do you think?

5 thoughts on “Demo Reviews vol. 52

  1. here’s what i think:

    cloud catchers – this is real song! good sample selection, the beat drops at the right places, there’s a dynamic to the arrangement, and it gets experimental. i’d agree with block that the second kid sounds like some end of the night, open mic cypher shit, but the mix is nice and loud, vox sit nicely, and drums & samples work together. my only issue would be the middle scratch section. scratches are good, but are way too up front, loud and dry, and kill the smoky, laid-back jazz vibe of the samples. it’s also a really long break; might work better as an 8- or 16-bar thing. finesse that shit, have rapper #2 get angry about something and learn some big words, and you’ve got yourself a track.

    burn & loot – nicely put together track. level mix, good sample selection/level, good scratches, solid (if forgettable) raps about the same old shit. it doesn’t do anything new or exciting, and the high end on that drum loop hurts my ears (try taming your drum bus with a multi band comp to level that shit out, way too harsh on my nice monitors), but it’s solid rap music, i guess. doesn’t do much for me, but i wouldn’t turn it off. it’s the night ranger of rap.

    grounded astronauts – it’s a good, level mix. the vocals sit okay, though still sound separate from the mix like a lot of indie rap stuff (way too dry). the beat switches up nicely and keeps it interesting, but the sounds are a little canned and tinny. i must say, i’m not a fan of all the cheeseball bit crushing, sounds hastily applied and a cheap affectation to make canned sounds feel grimy (hint: it doesn’t). dudes raps are decent and he changes his flow up enough with the beat to keep me listening. i might fuck with the sound selection and make the mix a little dirtier that way instead of bit crushing (try tuning stuff down, adding some space and saturating), but it’s decent. fits nice with some of that fake four stuff.

    kaseta – good groove, nice laid back feel, and it works as a whole song. beat is way too loud, and is ducking the rest of mix (check your master bus comp, son, or work on your monitoring setup). the form is cool, with some nice drops, and the vocal sample coming in a little later keeps it interesting. there’s some good stuff here, i’d just work on mix skills, because shit is mad uneven/thin sounding with the samples. thirsty rappers will line up to talk about themselves over this.

    warren peace – jokey, detached hipster white guy rap is over. shit ain’t funny. the mix is nice, but the beat is playskool, the raps are wack as fuck (and not in the way dude intends them to be), and the piano sound sucks. it tries to be out jazz without knowing in jazz rules, and sounds like it came from a keyboard with built-in speakers. real rhodes or go home if you’re aiming for that guru/tribe sound. but still, fat white dudes riding a unfunny joke with a detached/stilted/shitty flow throwing in hip hop cliches (‘that snap yo neck shit’ this will never be) for three minutes is done. dudes know how to get a somewhat clean, level sound in garage band, but it stops there. stop rapping and go back to making artisanal/ugly sweater/bad haircut/plinky ukulele music on wax cylinders. 0 nautical star tats out of 5. put a bird on it and stop.

    cissy – this would actually make a great mashup with taylor dane. i’m getting a castlevania/zelda vibe with that slow attack 8-bit lead sound, and the beat is total throwback trip hop 90’s stuff, which is about due for a resurgence. digging the drops and fills, but i wish it would come back with more than just the same elements as before, or switch out of that same chord progression and throw me a bridge or a new part, or keep with the trip hop vibe and pepper it with some dialogue samples so it moves more. this would be good video game-type background music, but is a little static and samey for a standalone track.

    the dingo – keep tinkering, son. someday you’ll find that beat. today is not that day. maybe keep it off soundcloud until you get a song with a real beat and definable parts that sounds mixed. i understand we all have to start somewhere, but some stuff is best kept in the lab. this is one of those. experimental for sure, but i’m not sure what the experiment is and am not drawn in enough to find out.

    soul define – the production is on point, but they lose the magic of that sample by just playing it over and over and over, and the drums, boom bappity as they are, never change. give me a fill or a drop, please! the raps are recorded nicely and sit well in the mix, but i honestly don’t give a shit what these dudes have to say. same old rap game madlibs/comin’ up up hard shit that was old when these guys were kids. no new ideas here, but super solid sound. make it less loop-like and talk about some real shit and you’re there.

    nougat – son clearly likes some respectable shit, but this reads like playskool’s my first Warp record from 1998. kid needs to work on layering, sound design, effects and eq. those sounds are dry as hell, way too much for something trying for atmospheric vibes. this might sound cooler dubbed out with some tape delays and spring verbs. a good start, but i died from boredom one minute in and am finishing this from beyond the grave. put a ghost on it.

    • forgot the first track (i work through all lists backwards):

      burning bright – the beat is cool and the samples are tight, and dude has mastered his flow. impeccable timing and whatnot. but i must say: as a white dude who used to be in some reggae bands, the rule for anything reggae made by white people is that it has to be minor key for it to not sound hokey. for those not on the theory tip, this is not in a minor key. everything sits well in the mix, but for reggae-type stuff, the vocals are super dry, disconcertingly so. it needs some serious tape delay and spring verb to even begin to sound more reggae-inspired. studio one dudes lived on that shit. also, the arrangement is super static and nothing changes throughout the song. some bigger drops, a bridge or a key change would make it more interesting.

  2. i liked kasetas beat the best. i just love jazzy beats. great work with the vocals. i thought the harmonica was a nice touch as well

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