Frozen Throne

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With the release his third studio album, it's evident that Los Angeles producer Jasper Patterson, aka Groundislava, has come a long way since his chiptune hip-hop days. With the lead track, "Girl Behind the Glass," Patterson sounds like he's matured by spending his time listening to George Michael rather than playing computer games. Pop sensibility and '90s dance music were influences on Patterson's former albums Groundislava and Feel Me, but this time around it has been taken to new extremes. Feel Me had elements to suggest that the creative direction was shifting -- as it was for so many producers in the early 2010s -- toward house, and Frozen Throne has drifted even further away from that. Perhaps the stand-out tracks here are the ones sans vocals provided by fellow L.A. residents Rare Times. The instrumental tracks are more forthcoming musically and feature many beautifully flowing synth-line freakouts, and with the duo featured six times on the album, it feels more like a collaborative effort. The vocals are also performed in such an emotional and theatrical manner that it wouldn't be too far-fetched to suggest that they could also be performed in a stage show. Highlights include the aptly titled "October Acid" and "Terminate Uplink, two Aphex Twin-esque light acid techno tracks that could have been lifted from Richard D. James' early records. One of the most disappointing aspects here, however, is that there isn’t even a sniff of the staggering, wonky, Dilla-esque hip-hop beats that Groundislava used to produce. It's appreciated that artists should progress, but the progression and creativity on Frozen Throne are lost in this saccharine sweet, post-ironic pop music.

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