Experimental hip-hop producer Jason Drake spent three years dwelling on despondent distance and forlorn longing for his home as he settled in to L.A., toiling away on his recent release. If you haven’t heard the buzz, the album was originally titled, KEVINSPACEY with a “K.” But with some backlash from actor/director/producer/screenwriter Kevin Spacey himself, the title was changed and plugged as EVINSPACEY. I’m sure Drake just didn’t want to get sued by the Usual Suspect. What the album may lack in titular resistance it more than compensates for with melodious rapport. The most adequate comparison of this album is to that of the recent Parts of Speech release, Floyd Biz. With similar angularity, spacey, lofty and swelling crescendos, EVINSPACEY equally drift into the digital clouds.
Opening with what sounds like it could be an intro to Daft Punk’s Tron soundtrack, interrupted by a collaged voice and less galactic interlude, ”Friendly Float” gives way to a mellow, cool water and contemplative album. The Rusko rabbling track, “The Echoes” (mp3 listen) tentatively rumbles with a dance hall feedback, tempered by lamenting lyrics and Drakes fuzzed vocals. Singing about loneliness with measured distance, the album is riddled with car jam metranomes. The choral dance-along, “The Night Shines” (another listen) reminds of innocent foreboding, like a childhood fear of the dark. Yet, EVINSPACEY pulls you through the solitude, out to the other end. The catchy elements of Drakes production, are weighed against a bell chime optimism, complimented by workable maturity. Melancholy tracks such as “Stuck” and “Turn Back the Other Way,” warn of an ominous quality in Drakes work, while floating between lesson and lesion. “Run Time” reflects something of semblance with Chicago’s own A Lull, in its accidental melodiousness. While “Pick Me Out” recalls Animal Collective meets our Gozamos preferred, Junk Culture angsty intervals.
Co-directed by Jason Drake and Vedette Lim and shot on an iPhone 4, the premier video “Perfect Day” contrasts the song’s pleasant lyrics with the bleak backdrop a desert. The song is like Hot Chip meets the captivating synths of Dawn Golden & Rosy Cross meets down Dredge’ 2006 hit “Same Old Road.” If you haven’t heard the marvelous podcast stream, 38 minute mix of the album introduced by This American Life founder, host and legend, I strongly recommend it. It works well if you’re not out to buy a new album. CWL offers up Mixtape “101” (download) with an intro by NPR legend Ira Glass and remixes of Gold Panda, The Death Set feat. Diplo and Houses including singles from EVINSPACEY. The title of the “101” mixtape sentimentally refers to the Hollywood Freeway that cuts through Drakes new hometown LA. Part pop, electro, with traces of devised hip-hop, EVINSPACEY plays well on a long car ride or tedious work day.