Today's edition of Note for Note features brief letters from the planet Lo-Fi.
The Division League - A Sword Through Your Heart
Mooresville's Dayton Ray Neely is all that remains of The Division League, a decade old lo-fi act that mixes Kid-A ambiance with Animal Collective aloofness. On this six song EP, stretched to a half hour running time, Neely seems preoccupied with exploring a relationship gone stagnant. "It's always been the same. We lose our will to change," he whispers on "Plummet," a modestly propulsive opener. It's hard to gauge what else makes Mr. Neely so bummed simply because it's difficult to decipher exactly what it is he's trying so hard to not enunciate. He drowns much of his vocals in reverb, and misty production that, after repeated listenings, gave the single impression of "sadness." Which is fine, but I'd care more about sadness with a personality. Oh, and shorter running times. Just because it took two years to record an album doesn't mean it should take two years to listen to.
RX & Shiftee - Space Ace Remixes
A dance music production team from the NYC, RX & Shiftee concocted last year's Space Ace, a three-song lo-fi / dubstep EP, that would go on to become 2011's highest charting release for local label Rad Summer. This four song remix collection, released by Rad Summer as well, features the talents of Wonder, Archie Pelago, Zeppy Zep and Lamin Fofana, who inject more color and muscle into the music. While the opening song, a rhythmically pounding rendition of the title track, drives the point home before running it into the ground, Pelago's electro-jazz rendition of "Orbit", while detached, is the standout if for no other reason than being the least dub of these dubstep ditties. The songs are effective enough for what they were designed to do, but it may seem unnecessary to the uninitiated, mostly because it is.
Jon R. LaFollette is also the founder of the pop culture blog PopTometry