Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Eon MC Etc. and The Libra, a duo that recently released a studio record entitled ‘Race Music.’ The six track EP is a fascinating endeavor, one that includes a slew of sonic intricacies and stylings. The release has debuted on United Statements, a Los Angeles record label founded by Eon MC Etc. Is it worth spending time with and adding to your collection of quality indie music? Let’s dig in and find out.
The opening track of the EP, ‘Too Pretty,’ has an unfortunate atmosphere surrounding it. The featured artist Ron Love succumbed to a battle with brain cancer this last March. Thus, ‘Race Music’ was supposed to be a three man project with him included. ‘Too Pretty’ is the only song he was able to complete before he died, however, so the track concretes Love’s place in music history as a swansong of sorts.
To briefly put aside the tragedy of Love’s passing, however, it is worth noting that ‘Too Pretty’ is an excellent of a track as it would have been if he was still alive. Sometimes we peer through rose-tinted glasses when look at an artist’s final work, but ‘Too Pretty’ is genuinely quite good. It’s old-school style hip hop, and it’s a fantastic piece matched perfectly by the trio’s prowess for production. It’s funky and old-school, yet splendidly contemporary as well.
The quality production throughout ‘Race Music’ is what makes it stand particularly tall in contrast to its indie counterparts - of which there are countless. The suave ‘Drank in Hand,’ for example, features Dsloaner for one of the more effortless deliveries on the record. The lyricism is sharp and the soundscape is authentic with some fantastic beats and synthesized musings.
‘DJ Spin Me One’ is, as one would expect, a party piece. It would be most effective on a dance floor. With that said, however, it has a surprising amount of compositional depth. The slick beats are excellent, but perhaps more interestingly, the effective use of auto-tune is absolutely brilliant. There’s a great place for auto-tune to be used as an artistic tool and not a vocal crutch. (I’d refer anybody to Kanye West’s ‘808s & Heartbreak’ to see how this can be done very well.) Eon MC Etc. and The Libra use auto-tune is an artistic fashion and to perfect effect.
In some ways, ‘DJ Spin Me One’ is a creative predecessor to ‘Prisoner.’ The former track offers the first real glimpse into soulful stylings on ‘Race Music.’ Once the listener hits ‘Prisoner,’ however, that soul influence has manifested itself in a massive way. ‘Prisoner’ is a spectacularly executed soul tune that exudes contemporary swagger. The vocal performance is one of the strongest on the album.
‘Love Right Now’ is the second best song on ‘Race Music.’ The epic is a masterful culmination of the tracks that preceded it accented by a dynamic composition that offers an array of sonic layers. The only thing on ‘Race Music’ that hits home harder than ‘Love Right Now’ is the finale, a tribute to Ron Love called ‘Cliff’s Notes.’ The poignant, heartbreaking honesty of the track is unlike anything I’ve heard in quite some time. If I were to draw a parallel, I’d argue ‘Cliff’s Notes’ is eerily similar to Paul McCartney’s ‘Here Today,’ a track where he discusses losing John Lennon and how he would have conveyed his emotions had he known he had so little time.
‘Race Music’ is an incredible little EP very much worth your time. Eon MC Etc. and The Libra jammed a lot into these six songs, and there isn’t a bad tune in there. The album is also remarkable due to it acting as Ron Love’s creative swansong. ‘Too Pretty’ is a fine ending to a musician’s legacy, however, and Eon MC Etc. and The Libra should be proud of finishing such a strong album around it.