T H E F I N A L
M I D N I G H T & L I O N
2020 Ruby Edition | 1 Hour 15 Mins
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Charles Laney embraces the darkness on the foreboding bombastic beats of “Midnight & Lion”. Firmly rooted in hip-hop, Charles Laney incorporates a great variety of different genres within the mix, featuring elements of industrial, noise, glitch, and electro into a unique hybrid. Right in the center of the whole thing from which all else flows are the fantastic vocals that have a commanding presence. Akin to the stylistic kaleidoscopic that consumes the sound itself, Charles Laney proves to be impeccable delivery, whether it is the higher kinetic energy of the opener or the laid-back vibes that dominate some of the later tracks.
“Bring the Heat” opens the album as a feverish nightmare, full of chaos. There is a slight nod towards the nostalgic. Rhythm gets messed with on the pace of molasses of the dazed “Rock & Roll”. IDM melodies emerge on the surprisingly stately “Potent Love Potion”. Nimble flourishes intermingle on the playful “Cool Girl”. A slight nod towards the dramatic runs through “The Work I Put In”. Aggression defines the woozy “Beautiful By Design”. Going for a sprawling ambitious journey is the immersive “Lord of the Crowns”. Economical grooves anchor the cryptic “Snakes”. Nicely closing out the album is the reflective ode of “Rock & Roll (Part II)”.
With “Midnight & Lion” Charles Laney is a deft storytelling, not only being able to describe a journey through a life lived to the fullest but to convey the emotion associated in that experience.
Driven by lead saw synths and HipHop drum patterns the production is unconventional and intriguing. A few of the standout tracks include“ The Work I Put In” which sees Charles Laney displaying his lyrical deftness as he raps “Move it to the beat move your feet get rhythm, squares to a prism what’s a diamond to an album”, “Long Gone”, “Beautiful by Design” and “Lord of the Crowns”. On the latter record he states “I record fire, fire catches fire, fire me, fireman” rapping couplets with ease. The Los Angeles based artist covers a myriad of topics–The “Midnight & Lion” is an artistic, experimental endeavor.
Inundated in peculiarity Charles Laney feels at his best. The album is dauntless, cunning, and weaves eccentric subject matters with precariously adroit production. Scrupulously, sequenced to unravel like an avant-garde indie short. Laced with 16 tracks the Ohio native releases a thrilling, and captivating listening experience.
Charles Laney is a self contained independent underground artist from Columbus, Ohio, skilled in writing, production, engineering and performing, who comes out with a 16-track album that is nothing short of eclectic, titled “Midnight & Lion“.
Focused on a sophisticated experimental search for sound, with “Midnight & Lion” Charles Laney aims to set up an innovative and complex creative flow that goes back and forth with relation to the deconstruction of canonical musical conventions.
Started in November 2011, the production of this album has seen a multi-stage development, with several prototypes leaked and retracted over time, while the project continued to be updated and improved.
The version available today really sounds like it might be the final version, which in its entirety shows a non-static organic unity that seems to have a life of its own.
Evolutionary in its genesis and development and equally alien and histrionic in the listening experience, “Midnight & Lion” by Charles Laney is, from what we have heard to date, the most distant we can be from classifications of genre and style. It certainly derives some sound from indie pop and hip-hop, but then takes such different paths that Charles Laney‘s music ends up being as far as possible from those genres.
For sure, this is not an album for everyone. Not even for many. But equally for sure this isn’t automatically a flaw.