The excellent Planet Mu label presents Inna Daze, the debut studio album from producer - and, for the first time, vocalist - Felix Lee. The record’s sense of ruthless economy retains the punky edginess of his first EPs, but envelopes it with a wider sense of musical world-building. It also features a host of members of Stockholm’s Drain Gang - including Yayoyanoh, Quantum Natives, Oxhy and Gaika.
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‘Inna Daze’ is at the confluence of two separate trends. The first is reclamation and evolution of emo. The most high profile manifestations of this is probably Lil Peep whose emo/trap sound turned out to be what half the world's teenagers needed to hear. The second is forward thinking dance music producers finding ways to integrate songwriting with a sound that was raised in the club. Jam City’s ‘Dream A Garden’ probably gets the example tap this time.
Felix Lee has been part of London’s club music scene long enough to be a stalwart. In the past he’s operated under the moniker ‘Lexxi’, producing futuristic club bangers like the brilliant ‘Red Eyez’. His debut for Planet Mu is much dourer affair. From the very start ‘KOH’ introduces the general mood, slippy productions with processed vocals that fall somewhere between emo and R&B. This sound is becoming increasingly popular in London, spearheaded by the likes of Ecco2k (who features here) and Organ Tapes. It works brilliantly too, there was never a reason for emo vocals to get stuck on guitars, and freed from that limitation, they’ve offered some very different musicians the chance to get involved.
Lee is first and foremost a producer though, and it’s here where his talent most obviously lies. ‘Void’ features a wonderfully surreal scratching effect on its synths, ‘Focussed’ is built on kinetic tuned percussion, and ‘Slow Decay’ has the sense of scale and dread you find on the better Subtext releases. His production really standout on ‘Still Torn’ and ‘Smoke’, which for a moment ramp the energy up with nasty rave synths, the later with the help of fellow London producer Kamixlo.
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