Artist: Revenge of the Platypus
Review by Melissa Nastasi
It takes a lot for a trip hop record to catch my attention. Not because I’m not a fan of the genre, but because it takes a lot of work, effort and perfection to pull it off. Meet Revenge of the Platypus, created by one Malachi Bazan, who draws inspiration from sources such as RJD2 to Leonard Cohen. If that didn’t grab your attention I’m not sure what will. Releasing his newest album, Dreams, this ambient piece of labor means serious business.
Kickin off the record is “Bitch of a Papercut,” which starts the listener off on a true musical journey. Though I am unsure if it is intentional, it strikes me with the feel of old school video game music from the 1980’s. This is intended as a compliment, because they just don’t make creative tracks like anymore. “March of the Trees” resembles the electronic duo Ratatat with smooth yet often subtle beats and tones that take you away to another state of mind. This is the ultimate music to chill out to. It is also the first time vocals are introduced into the record, which come as a bit of a surprise. Bazan’s vocals are striking, yet not overpowering. They fit in well with what he is trying to do, and that is creating peaceful music.
“Pearl” and “Fear 11” flow into each other nicely and compliment each other as back-to-back pieces. The piano on “Pearl,” is unforgettable and very well orchestrated. This track has easily become a favorite on the record. “Amb Boom” is first orchestrated with carefully placed synthesizers before heading into a basic piano and brilliant drum machine beats. “Majesty” features Bazan’s vocals, which are a rare occasion on the record so far, the rarity of which adds an element of mystery to Revenge of the Platypus. The voice is so in tune with the music that any lyrics become almost non important. It creates a spacey atmosphere that sends the listener into another dimension.
“Lucky Sweatshirt” and “Arcane Monkey” are nothing to write home about, but they fit in well with the rest of the record. The latter of the two can put you to sleep, but not in a boring way. It will ease the listener into a state of brief unconsciousness. “Spring” picks up the album a little bit again as it is an interesting track with a perfectly performed guitar ensemble. The gentle yet noticeable drums in the background are accompanied by a piano that ties the whole song together. This is definitely a standout piece.
“From the Inside” features Bazan’s vocals, again remaining quiet. Slight harpsichord sounds on a keyboard enhance “From the Inside” without making it cheesy. It is obvious that Bazan thought these songs through very carefully. “Dream Plain” is a bit uncanny at first, with haunting keyboards reminiscent of Brooklyn duo Javelin. This is one of the most perfect songs on the album, simple and complex at the same time. The elements that form the track make it seem like a breeze when indeed it is a very intense effort.
Revenge of the Platypus's Dreams is a creative and technically brilliant piece of work that will not only appeal to trip hop fans but to electronic, chill wave and indie fans alike. Kudos to Malachi Bazan for a job well done.
Review by Melissa Nastasi
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)