Album: Frame of Mine by SEE LEVEL

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See Level’s dazzling LoFi charm pours yet again on his latest album release, titled Frame of Mine. An exquisite selection of sound design pieces, 20 of them to be precise, that span all the way across the spectrum of LoFi, and instrumental electronica, showcasing variety and displaying See Level’s vast taste and knowledge, remaining extremely poignant throughout.

 See Level is the Los Angeles-based musician Andre Dennis. A lover of music-turned-producer, Dennis is seriously inspired by the idea of leaving a musical legacy through music that sounds like nothing else that’s ever been done before, and it is safe to say that he is covering good grounds towards achieving that goal. With his sophomore record, following his successful debut ‘Rice Butter & Sugar’, ‘Frame of Mind’ sees See Level consistently pulling the same threads, crafting tidbits of passionate LoFi, luscious at times, dark at others, simplistic and flowing at times, intricate at others, while remaining silky smooth all the time. Not for a moment during this album’s healthy runtime does See Level’s music lose an ounce of its chill warmth.

 While the 20 songs that make up the heft of this album rarely cross the 3-minute mark, almost all of them manage to introduce a new shade of See Level’s creative agency. Chief among the album’s more standout cuts are ‘Off Top Reflections’, our first introduction to See Level’s true LoFi genius, utilizing sampled grooves, charismatic piano trills, and soulful, reverberated guitar, creating the album’s first lush and hazy scene. More of the same fantastic vibes can be caught on one of my own favorites, ‘Hold Ones Peace’, a piece that does not reach the 2-minute mark, managing to display See Level’s rich harmonic ideas, laying a stunning chord progression, and layering it with a few sparkling piano lines, he manages to create an atmosphere that soothes and hypnotizes. ‘Mirrors’ is another stunner that substitutes dreaminess with melancholia with its intricate piano-based motif, while showcasing a little bit of See Level’s handling of a few dissonant layers, to spectacular results. One of the album’s more alien tracks. ‘Look Deeper’ might just be my personal favorite. With a sublime vocal sample that loops, a gentle groove, LoFi piano, creamy pads, and a few spicy textural layers, this mid-album cut is pure elegance.

 ‘The Thrills of Patients’ is an extremely chill piece with deep low-pass filtering that gives it a very garage feel to the impassioned guitar lines swirling throughout. ‘Web of Aura’ and ‘Roseless’ are two back-to-back cuts that stand out with chill, hypnotic chords, and accessible mixes that make them easy to fall for while remaining intricate and intelligent enough to be interesting and worth a deep listen, from the subtle toying with dissonance on the former to the tribal-sounding beats and vocal samples, and eerie synth wails that populate the latter.  The jangly jazz vibes on ‘A Paused Glance’, the album’s most ambitious cut, are a healthy departure that sees the introduction of a handful of new elements to the music of the album, such as modulation distorted leads, synth leads, and screaming horns. The Hawaiian apocalypse sound of ‘Beach on Fire’, courtesy of a fusion of bright, chirping birds with a looming bass, a dark, descending progression, and dissonant horns, altogether manage to create one of the album’s most nuanced listens. ‘Helping Hands’ is the album’s later half’s gentlest offering, with romantic pads, heartfelt melodies, and a slow, steady tempo.

 At the end of my writing this article on Frame of Mine, I was going through the third listen of the record, half of this time the music was running in the background, during which time I was soothed and focused on doing other things, and for the time I dedicated to focus on the music, I found myself enthralled and totally consumed by the wealth of ideas and textures on this collection of pieces, and from the quality of the execution. It is enough to say that See Level possesses a talent that allows his music to be easy to love and easy to listen to. “Frame of Mine” holds immense value as an album of immersive instrumental electronica that invites you in and wholly welcomes you for the stay.

 

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