Loden - The Star-Eyed Condition
If you’re not already familiar with the name of Brussels producer Loden, there’s a very good chance that you are at least familiar with his brilliant work on Busdriver’s 2012 album, Beaus$Eros, which he produced in its entirety. The Star-Eyed Condition marks Loden’s fourth solo album, and his second for Portland label Circle Into Square.
The Star-Eyed Condition sees Loden bringing in many collaborators, including Busdriver, Open Mike Eagle, Ceschi, Sole, and Doseone. There are also several instrumental songs, which is more of what you might expect if you are a fan of Loden’s previous solo outings. The music on TSEC is wildly varied, and showcases just how diverse and experimental Loden can be as a producer. Sometimes we get into a more disco-electronic style, as featured on “Sanesserarian,” which will be sure to get the hipster kids on the dance floor. His collaboration with Ceschi on “Ceschi is Seeing Straight” brings together the bizarre hip hop/folk style of music that Ceschi has developed over the years, with a perfectly placed opera sample in the middle of the song to begin a breakdown, which is unexpected, but works perfectly in this context. “Future Confetti with Doseone” features the most bizarre production on the album, beginning with a vocal line the matches the pulse of a syncopated drum rhythm, which then begins to fade to the background as a new vocal line comes to the forefront, while a pulsing sinister synth line a la Suicide comes in underneath everything. This gives way into a dreamy shoegaze pop-meets boom bap verse, which then leads into a synthpop chorus with Doseone’s rapidfire delivery, reminding me of his early anticon. work. “A Letter to a Future Kid from Sole” is a soft and gentle song that allows Sole’s passionate ruminations on the state of affairs to resonate, as he contemplates how strange the concept of owning land can be, as is the ease with which we let technology take over our lives. The only real criticism of the album I have is that while there are lots of inventive and interesting songs on the album, it doesn’t necessarily come together as a whole especially well, instead feeling more like a compilation of tracks that Loden had been working on by himself and in collaboration with other artists. It’s still quite enjoyable and more challenging that most hip hop or electronic records you’ll hear this year, it just doesn’t rise to the highest level that I feel that Loden is capable of.
Loden is certainly one of the most talented and inventive producers working today, and The Star-Eyed Condition gives plenty to back up that claim. It’s widely varied, and while not completely cohesive, it’s still a fun and challenging listen.