Luke Brown – Impressions

 Luke Brown – Impressions

Luke Brown – Impressions – EP Review

Written over a weekend, recorded in 3 hours.”  #WordUP #JustCreateYall #MakeMusic

And that’s just the thing, ain’t it?  As many of you out there have heard from me over the years, we can spend our entire lives perfecting one song…at some point, you just gotta call it finished, and get it out there.  Beyond that, sometimes it can be seriously rad to simply challenge yourself in a different way…to do things like Luke Brown has done’em here on Impressions and rack out a whole EP over the course of a weekend.  You put this on, and you listen to “name” start up the record, and you realize the man’s gonna be on solid ground…we’re not talking about throwaway material, you feel me?  The quality is there, and if you can bring that from concept to execution, then there’s no reason that a shorter timeframe should be scary at all.  I think it’s realistic to dial-back the expectations a little…as in, you might not find every single cut made in a method like that is gonna go platinum – but it’s equally fair to assume that while you’re in the grip of your creativity and locked into the moment, you can strike gold.  “Name” is a good start to the Impressions EP…you can feel the energy building, it’s got a low-key Trap approach to it, clever effects on the vocals and unique samples added into the end – it’s just over ninety seconds in total length, which probably puts it at more of a disadvantage than the amount of time taken to write & record it, know what I mean?  We’re just getting into “name” and by the time its magic is workin’ in-full, it’s time to call it a day and move onto the next.  It is what it is…short cuts are actually trending big-time these days, so ultimately, it’s no disadvantage at all.  Luke’s got his personality and confidence on display right from the drop, and that’s what’s always going to matter to us all the most.  You don’t need to take home the hardware for every single track you’ll ever create – you just need to do what you do to the best of your abilities & make sure that you don’t cheat yourself as an artist.  I guess I figure if you can do that, you should always be able to stand behind the results, and be proud of them.

Like, if I was Luke, I’d be freakin’ stoked about how “god bless” came out…the performance is tight, and the bass-line/beat combination that is at the core of this cut is straight-up irresistible.  Trust me – I’ve put this track on repeat and let it loop, because I’m from the old-school and ninety seconds of a track is usually never gonna be enough for me…but every single time that “god bless” spun back around to the undeniably smooth way it all starts, I was hooked into it all over again.  And you really gotta ask yourself – would this track be THAT much better if Luke had taken an entire year to stress over the details of this or that when making it?  It’s theoretically possible that maybe we’d have gotten a slightly longer track – MAYBE – but chances are, even with all that extra time being taken, the results of what we hear and the quality, would be completely comparable.  So take that to heart all you people out there thinking that you need to get into the professional studios or there’s no point in making music – you can be, and are wrong.  What you need is the desire, some ideas, and a lil’ know-how…if you’ve got all that goin’ on, you should be in the lab around the clock doin’ what you love.  Like I was saying, it might not get you in line for a Grammy-award because the industry is naturally opposed to those that choose to break the rules and go the DIY route…but if it’s simply the desire to make music, there really ain’t nothing stopping you.  Take a page out of Brown’s playbook here y’all…the results he’s achieved on “god bless” speak volumes on behalf of what can be achieved by simply committing to the moment and giving it everything you got.

What I personally really thought was great about Impressions, was how cohesive the material came out – and honestly, that’s something that tends to be achieved more by being in the moment than it will be by taking a massive amount of time at the end of the day.  I mean…sure…if you take five years and make a shit ton of tracks along the way, you’ll have a wealth of material to choose from and you can create the appearance of cohesion…but even in that instance, it’s likely to pale in comparison to those out there that are in the mood to get things done in a much shorter timeframe, with their cuts all being made closer together.  Brown’s got Impressions dialed-in, and he’s willing to “die on that hill,” as he should be.  If there’s a reason that he shouldn’t be following his instincts, it’s not something that I’m hearing in the tracks on this EP…as far as my ears are concerned, he’s got the right approach and it’s yielding some seriously impressive results.  Would people out there listen to a track like “die on that hill” or an EP like Impressions?  You can bet your ass they would!  I’m tellin’ ya – the quality is right where it should be, the material is strong, the performances are on-point…what more can you really ask for than that?  Heck, I’d “die on that hill” too if I was Luke.  All you can ever do as a musician is give the material your best and let the chips fall where they may.  Again…if he took three years to make Impressions instead of three days, do you really think there’d be that many less haters out there?  As the old saying goes, ‘haters gonna hate’ because that’s what haters do…and there isn’t an ounce of time that’ll change that.  So like I said…move past all that like Luke is doing…don’t cheat yourself, and you’ll be just fine.  I think a whole lot of people out there would like this record, in addition to appreciating the methods he used to make it.  “die on that hill” has got more of those sublime bass-lines, and Brown continually puts his personality through the microphone in ways that we can all hear it…and that’s what really matters.

There will always be questionable moments in this kind of method too, but that is OKAY y’all…I’m tellin’ ya, it’s worth the risk to go at a more rapid pace…you’ll probably find you create more hits than misses.  Like…for myself personally, I feel as if Luke probably could have dialed-back some of the heavier vocal effects on “impressions” – but I’m not saying that I’m the entire judge & jury on that – you could feel totally different about that, and if ya do, then right on – you’ll find no objections from me on that.  We all respond to different things when it comes to how we listen to music, that’s the reality.  The majority of “impressions” totally works out in his favor if you ask me…and I’d be willing to bet there are tons of folks out there that would be more than happy to disagree with my opinion on the heavy degree of auto-tune on the vocals that shows up around the fifty-five second mark.  I mean…even I kind of disagree with what I’m saying to be truthful!  It’s very much because the heavier effects show up that we get the opportunity to appreciate the clarity and clever effects that guide the rest, you feel me?  So it’s one of those double-edge sword scenarios that only true contrast can create.  The real bottom-line is that experimentation, trying new things, and being unafraid to test the waters is what is going to lead a guy like Luke to his most significant breakthroughs down the road later on in his career, so I’m all for it.  Like I said, I think “impressions” still holds up solidly enough, especially with the cohesive way it fits into this lineup of songs too.  Think of it this way once more…artists/bands spend like, forever making that next record, and the reality is, no matter how much time is spent, we still end up with certain tracks becoming our favorites, and probably a few spots here & there where things could have been stronger.  For a weekend’s worth of writing and three hours of recording, “impressions” came out just fine y’all.

But here’s the real point I’ve been getting at all along…suppose you went the same route that Luke did here…and what IF you just happened to create a golden cut as great as “drown” is at the end – ain’t that worth it?  Sure I would have loved another three or four minutes of this track to let it develop and be a bit more than we get right now – but here’s another fun fact for ya…that’s what EPs used to be for!  They weren’t just one and done releases, they were testing phases to see what the public responded to, so that when you DID go into the studio to do things for real, you had some direction and something to guide ya…and in my opinion, Luke would be serving his music career real well to bring that concept back.  Take tracks like “god bless” or “die on that hill” or certainly something like “drown,” and make’em into versions that play like a 2.0, you know what I mean?  They’re already all good as they are, but now that you’ve got some confirmation on that from some dude like me & likely a whole bunch of other people out there listening, see what you can do to take’em all to that next level.  With this ‘unpolished & imperfect series’ that Brown’s been putting out, that gives him the perfect opportunity to find out what listeners are looking for in his music, and the ability to maximize that potential.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the perfect record…but the blueprints could have been.  “drown” is a perfectly faded melody for the modern-day era…and in my opinion, Luke’s definitely onto something here at the end of the Impressions EP.  He’s put together solid material right from the start, but I think he’s found something significantly special at the end here, and I’d definitely wanna hear where something like this could go from here.  I’ll take it as is for now, because it’s awesome and all…but begrudgingly considering it’s just 1:41 in length & you youngsters are never gonna find me catching onto the short track trend.  That being said, it’s just cause I’m greedy and always want more of what I love…I really dig the music and the whole vibe on “drown,” and I feel like with another minute or two, Luke could completely make the most of this evocative and thought-provoking finale on the Impressions EP.  He’s heading in the right direction no matter how you slice it though…I’ll certainly take things as they are now on this record, but I have the suspicion that the next challenge for him as an artist in the future ahead, is to take these cuts and find a way to expand on the ideas he’s got in order to get the most out of each and every moment.  It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes from here.  I’d be the last guy to say spend all year making one song when you could make five this good in a single weekend…so stay tuned & see what Luke does next.

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