Thursday, April 5, 2018
Dominic J Marshall
(Inner Ocean Records)
Edition of 50 //
Sometimes you don't know what to expect when you get a cassette to review. However one of the stickers Inner Ocean Records sent with "Compassion Fruit" says "Lofi Hip Hop" and I'm inclined to agree with that as a general way to describe the music of Dominic J Marshall. Of course what that means specifically, why you should care and whether it's good or not cannot be found on a sticker (Unless you print this review out onto a sticker, which I do not recommend)
Throughout these songs you will find a combination of bass, beats and other assorted sounds which create instrumental hip hop, sometimes a jazz feel and even at other times this can feel like a video game. The thing I like about it all though is that the music maintains a level of calm, a relaxing feel overall. It's smooth and even when I begin to think of it as being video game and imagine the little 24 bit characters walking around trying to fight the bad guys, it still has this chill feel to it as opposed to that urgent need to defeat the final boss.
There are two times when singing can come through in a song and at another point there are letters being spoken which reminds me of when a captcha tells me to type the numbers I hear. Otherwise, these record scratches and organ tones, crazy feelings like we're in space and upbeat tones like Jock Jamz are instrumental. It can be described as instrumental hip-hop because even though it is chill I could imagine someone rapping over it.
During the first song on Side B there are also these vocals which I think are vocals but they sound like Charlie Brown's parents so I don't know if they count against the whole instrumental idea. Big bass drops, wind chimes and laser shots with keys like The Doors bring us into a more blissful sound like a xylophone. This brings out my first and only point of comparison: Aloha. Yeah, this kind of reminds me of Aloha right here.
Before all is said and done there are also synth tones which remind me of the 1980's/early 1990's cop movies and if you are like me and stumble upon all of the Lethal Weapon movies on Netflix one day and decide to marathon them then you know what I'm talking about. Otherwise "Compassion Fruit" doesn't really remind me of the soundtrack to anything, which is one of the reasons why it stands out so much: it's creating its own way.