Madison Park + Beechkraft – MIX – Album Review
I can’t even begin to explain…
I know that sounds like the opening entry into the journal of a fourteen-year old…but let me explain… Have you ever just needed the perfect sound to come on to level out your mood and bring you back to where you wanted to be before you left it? I’m human…well, sort of anyhow… I get involved in heated conversations with artist-management almost every single or second-day; and today has been ‘one of those mornings.’ So to say I was AMPED up and needed to chill-out is to make one mountain-mass of an understatement.
Often if I find myself in those heavier, more complicated moods, I’ll turn to music; but here’s what I mean about the perfect sound…
While I often turn to music to relieve stress, I also believe firmly that reviewing someone’s art & music in that state of mind is truly unfair. I think the mind should almost be at a meditative or trance-like state waiting and ready to accept input from any angle; and if I don’t feel like I can achieve that to start with, there’s not going to be any point…it wouldn’t come out sounding like something I’ve written. So to be truthful, yes – 100% of the time I turn to new music to cure my moodiness…and 99% of the time I simply turn it off seconds after it starts.
But that’s just the thing about the sound you need to hear when you need to hear it most; you can’t turn it off. Welcome to the GOOD version of the 1%…a combination and collaboration your ears won’t be able to turn away no matter what mood you’re in from Madison Park and Beechkraft. This is the music I needed to help heal my very SOUL right now…I couldn’t possibly appreciate this music having come my way any more than I do right now at this very moment.
“Tonight” starts the MIX album off with the most fantastic introduction into the sound you’re about to strap yourself in for with emotional & energetic electro that pulses perfectly…and…hmmm…how do I put this? Ahhh yes. How about…one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard in this past decade. Madison Park is just GORGEOUS; whether you’re looking at a picture or hearing her incredible voice…this is a beauty and talent that cannot be denied.
If “Tonight” doesn’t instantly convince you as it did me; the following cut “Parts Of Me” will. What a musical-marriage between these two sonic-forces! Beechkraft’s beat in this second cut on MIX is just pure slow-burning-awesomeness; the production is right at the top of its game and displaying the harmony between these two entities – Madison Park once again finds the perfect placement for her vocals within the beat. Very reminiscent of the vocal-melodies I find in the Danish electro-infused music of Oh Land – another sound I love that resonates just as strongly within me as Park’s voice does.
I like the combination of these two very much simply for the fact that none of these songs become overloaded or crowded – neither of these two are grandstanding for their own moment in the spotlight. The music is treated with respect & space and built upon an unspoken musical-connection that truly allows for each half of this combination to shine through at the perfect time. A track like “Warm When I’m Alone,” is a great example; it’s a much more typical-beat and something you can find all over the dance-music scene already – but the way they approach the recording and use Park sparsely throughout rather than have her ramp it up to match the rubbery-energy of the music creates a contrast that truly does make the song more unique than maybe it even should be in this particular case! That being said…they’ve got me hooked on what they’re doing here once again as a result. “Walk Away” is entirely different in the feel & style of the beat…much more experimental…but it’s that same approach that produces the same incredible output here. Right around the two-minute mark…I find myself absolutely loving the beat & vocal combination…Park’s voice is cut-up and sampled into this one and it really makes for an atmospheric departure into another side of their blend, and another victory here on MIX.
Definite props to Beechkraft; the presence becomes increasingly felt in “Walk Away” and on “Sunrise (Next Level Mix).” It’s called the ‘Next Level Mix’ for a reason; this is the collaboration hitting their full-stride for sure on this exciting pop-electro, single-worthy track. It marks a definite turn towards energy just before the middle of the album; one that carries right over to the awesome beat starting out “Fascinated.” Park bends & twists the title in the chorus as these two together create a vibrant display of the ideas & vision that they share together, fully realized here on “Fascinated.” Excellent hooks and superb, confident delivery on this cut particularly, but those are also inarguably constant aspects of MIX.
“Closer” is an excellent showcase on their ability for the slow-pulse. Much like “Parts Of Me” early on in the album, this style of melodic & mellow-electro works incredibly effectively for the dreamy voice of Madison Park. I suppose the REAL question is…can she LOSE? I’m not arguing her talent and astounding talent whatsoever – but I AM saying that, well, I mean….I’m just saying if any of YOU out there got shipped these incredible beats to work with, you’d take them for a ride as well! Beechkraft and the song-writing & assembly of this project certainly deserve a lot of credit as well because the beats are coming out flowing, cohesively, brightly and perfectly all the way through. For the record – I’m absolutely positive Madison Park is taking these beats to heights we’d never be able to reach ourselves; let’s face it…we might be able to take these beats for a ride – but we’re just trying to catch one and all the while she’s BEEN riding.
Great changes in the atmosphere and texture of MIX track-to-track; the pulsing tempo of “Rain,” brings up the energy from the previous track “Closer,” but not so much that it sounds jarring; completely the opposite. The layout on MIX leaves each track shaking hands with the one coming in to replace it with pleasant switches that make logical sense for your ears to easily accept. “Every Single Day” would again follow that rule…this widely-spread & stereophonic-sound drops in perfectly after the intensity of “Rain” breaks and once again shows diversity & versatility in their sound. It’s experimental combinations like this that work so damn well sometimes you just kind of have to sit back and marvel. Like if you were to write out this idea on paper first and show it to someone…would they ‘get’ it? I highly doubt it; but to hear it work as well as it does, you know that it’s the kind of music that this collaboration genuinely FEELS – and it audibly presents itself on tracks like “Every Single Day.”
There’s a comforting feeling once again prevalent in “I Am Your Beachbreeze,” in fact the collaboration itself seems to sound altogether comfortable here…it’s not boring by any stretch but the energy dips slightly here, perhaps to make way for the brilliance of “Words.” Hands-down one of the most superior songs on MIX – this is a polished gem that is musically-priceless. Madison Park radiates beauty through her tone in an absolutely stellar-highlight for her gift of melody; and Beechkraft has once again come up with a beat that is just immaculate. It’s another slow-grind, but the melody and atmosphere in this song are at the highest-level you can ever hope to attain. It breaks and transitions perfectly into the up-tempo “I Stumble, Fall” which pumps up the album on its way to the final two cuts and really brings out some life between these two in this highly-danceable track.
Now…you’d have to be damn near a musical-genius to catch what these two are up to in the second to last song; to recognize this as a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” is not an easy thing for the ears to do on a first listen! Yeah it’s the very first line & opening seconds of the song…but believe me…it’s a hell of a lot different than the original Bowie version! I dig it for its adventurous nature alone…I think it’s incredibly courageous to take on such an extreme adaptation. Does it truly work? Let’s not only dance, but let’s face the music entirely – when done like this, it’s flat-out an entirely new song and experience; I think it works as well as the rest of the music on MIX but I’m not even thinking about Bowie while I’m listening to Madison Park sing this cover.
“I Am Your Darkness” ends the album off with a wicked pulsing-beat intro that breaks away to an innovative beat that drives along instrumentally for almost a minute-and-a-half before letting Madison Park into the mix. As subtle & stripped-down as electro can get – this final display of minimalism in music is another notch on their belt in unique production and theatrics as Park drifts in and out of the track towards the fourth-minute and then lets the sweet-electro tones carry us out til the end.
All in all, this is a fantastically gorgeous effort made here by Madison Park + Beechkraft and the sounds I hear on MIX certainly indicate to me that this is a collaboration that both works mind-blowingly well and should certainly continue on together joined at the musical-hip.
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