Lazerbeak: Lava Bangers

By Stefan Walczak

Running a mere 38 minutes, Lazerbeak whips up 20 tracks that burn with a funky hip-hop fever, one track mixing right into the next, and the nonstop mix of each of these short tracks make Lava Bangers a mouth-watering treat for anyone looking for some fresh instrumental beats. One of the seven members of alternative and experimental hip-hop collective, Doomtree, Lazerbeak a.k.a. Aaron Mader, became involved in music at the early age of fourteen, when he formed his first band, The Plastic Constellations. Receiving early recognition from popular music publications such as Spin magazine, they quickly rose to indie fame, touring with bands such as The Hold Steady and playing a show at the First Avenue Stage, Minneapolis’s historic music venue.

After becoming involved with Doomtree through his high school friend Stefon Alexander (hip-hop emcee P.O.S.) and buying an MPC, or MIDI sequencer, from a local dealer, Lazerbeak was thus born into existence. Now in 2012, after having produced over 400 different styled beats, Lazerbeak graces listeners with his most recent full length release, Lava Bangers. Mader wastes no time, and he lets his furious productions do all the talking. There are no guest spots on this record, but the soul still shines brightly in each of these richly layered, instrumental hip-hop tracks. There are still plenty of beautiful voices being sampled. Blending from one right into the next, Mader’s swagger and steady groove that is heard on Lava Bangers sounds like a distant cousin of an Oh No or Madlib recording. The soothing vocal samples of a woman’s crooning in the song “Ay Bay Bee” capture the energy of each of Lazerbeak’s ‘bangers’, as each track, with their energetic drum patterns and full sounds, feel like they are waiting to burst into an awesome display of colors and textures. The music is lively, and Lazerbeak proves to listeners that every one of his tracks on his new LP, however short, deserve some love and attention. There may not be any particular standouts on this one, but Lazerbeak cuts right to the chase and shows us that the real beauty in Lava Bangers is the journey from the beginning to the end, and everything in between in this remarkable mix of funky and soulful instrumental hip-hop.

Rating: 8.5/10