Luurel Varas: Leisure Time tape (Crash Symbols, 2017)

October 27, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Luurel Varas: Leisure Time tape

Estonia’s Luurel Varas crafts beats which playfully smack. His sound is relaxed but not too laid back; it’s not as loungey as someone like Monster Rally. It’s lush but not too pillowy. It’s also quite busy, but it’s never hard to follow. Basically, he sounds like he could easily be from L.A. or Detroit, but he holds his own against producers half a world away from him. Opener “Fantasia” has a nice quasi-chiptune skank to it, and he folds in some smudged voices which shout out to Detroit. “Leisure Time” samples some old educational film or record, and has a funny sample accusing some kid of being mopey, but he says he isn’t. After that, other songs on the album feature sparkling tones and shimmering easy listening strings, but the producer knows when to rough things up a bit. The strings will glitch out unexpectedly, or there will be an extra few cymbal crashes before you expect them. Sometimes the tracks start out sounding cerebral, but then they end up more googly-eyed. The second side throws in some sillier samples as well as some dreamier ones (such as those R&B vocals that pop up halfway through), and at times it suggests a faster, more banging version of the Clams Casino sound. This one just becomes more comforting and joy-inducing the more you listen, but there’s enough of a creative edge to it that it doesn’t just seem like a standard (yet nonetheless dope) beat tape. And also, it’s satisfying as an actual album rather than just a collection of beats.

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