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Album Review

LAN ODYSSEY: a beat tape to fit a kickback or a contemplative dive for self analysis

September 26, 2022

I’m sitting at my office desk for my summer 2022 internship in Houston Texas getting to know my desk neighbor very well. He has critical and unique opinions on all types of music. I noticed a couple weeks after meeting him that he had one cassette tape on his desk, and being someone that loves music, I asked him what tape it was. He proceeded to send me a link to a roughly 7 minute long beat tape with no more than 2,000 views on youtube. He told me his friend knew the guy who made the tape. I said why not, closed my eyes, put my headphones in, and listened. The joy and solidarity that this tape titled LAN ODYSSEY gave me was almost indescribable. After the tape was over, I opened my eyes, and stared at my co-worker until he noticed. With my jaw to the floor I asked him the usual questions such as: who made this, why does it only have two thousand streams, why couldn’t it be longer, and if the producer had any other music. He answered my questions and chuckled at how much I liked it. He had one of 20 printed cassette tapes for the composition which I think is awesome. LAN ODYSSEY (2011), a graceful, ethereal, and tightly packed vaporwave, barber beat, or trip hop beat tape induces curiosity and appreciation for its perfectly unique cover art, and methodically ordered seven tracks. 

Tornado kick, its first track, provides a right hook of an introduction as soft spacelike synthesizer notes with the help of a vocal sample shoot you into another world of choppy drums, harmonic vocals, and sub shaking 808s. The feeling tornado kick gives off is almost teaser-like, shouting, “just wait for the next one”. The brief 41 seconds of introduction is cut off by some frequency static jumping right into jazzy piano chords with an occasional high guitar note to add eeriness. The second track, “murphy group”, keeps the upbeat synthesizer drum combo but has less of a buildup to the area of the song where each instrument plays together. More static chops lead us into the third track, “7-eleven”, which begins with a Kramer vocal sample saying, “Here’s to feeling good all the time”. Directly after this sample, upbeat synthesizer chords lead into an almost happy chord progression while pitch fluctuations give the track an ominous feel. Unavoidable stops and starts with the drums and synth chords produce anticipation and eagerness for the next track, “favorite movie”. The fourth track, “favorite movie”, explodes with what seems to be very unnormalized saxophone notes run through some equalization features to bring out the highs and attack of the sax. Once again, LAN ODYSSEY uses chops and cuts to introduce new sounds, and to emphasize individual notes. Favorite movie stops abruptly and kicks off the fifth track “oakbrook” which is carried by very jazzy individual piano notes that create a coffee shop vibe. Prior to the beautiful keys, a sample is played that I know not the origins of, but it is a reference to Garry Coleman playing Arnold and saying the well known saying, “whatchu talkin bout Willis”. What would a LAN ODYSSEY track be without choppy drums at this point too. The keys on this song differ heavily from the rest of the tape, which certainly makes oakbrook a stand out track. The sixth, or last non bonus track on the tape is titled “neck”. Neck reminds me of a fever dream. Almost unreal synthesizer distortions, pitch fluctuations, and waw sounding effects give the track a very trippy feeling. The tape goes right into a bass, clap, and what sounds like a chime/piano synthesizer heavy track. The choppy feeling of the chime/piano synth and the clap heavy drums pair well with the high pitched mid song “hey, listen!” sample. The track fades out and the tape is over. Regarding the cover art for the tape, not until recently had I noticed the almost separate layers of the image. There are different attributes to each of the three rectangular shaped panes which make up the whole cover art. The layers of the album cover seem to resemble the versatility of the tape. Similarly the use of fluorescent blue, green, and pink bring out the trippy and stimulative intentions of the artist. 

LAN ODYSSEY is one of my favorite beat tapes of all time. The feeling each track brings me is something that no other instrumental only tape has made me feel. It is unbelievable to think that such high levels of production and individuality get such little recognition. I have yet to receive a negative or lukewarm response from some whom I have shown LAN ODYSSEY. Unlike every other post commercialized lofi or vaporwave artist, LAN ODYSSEY has multiple aliases under which he produces different beat tapes. However, the beat tape titled LAN ODYSSEY is the sole tape which he released under the name LAN ODYSSEY. This tape is one of those hard to find compositions that allows you to approach it however you please. LAN ODYSSEY can be effectively experienced in both relaxed environments, as well as contemplative, and deep moments of self analysis and reflection.

Listen to Nicolas Lopez on Xah's Barbershop, 11:00 am Mondays on

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