Dreams hold a certain thematic resonance in hip hop. You find them littered throughout the verses of upstart and established rappers alike - “the dream” referenced constantly as the motivation keeping hip-hop artists going. In The Dream Sequence, budding locals Young Gliss and De’Ko meld the metaphor to reality, creating a loose concept record following a “dreamer drifting through various stages of sleep,” “realizing his inner aspirations and gaining an understanding of the energy it will take to achieve them,” and leaving the dream world “with the feeling that he has the strength to fulfill his destiny.”
Before going further, it’s important to recognize that this EP was recorded in a day, which means some of the lines are a little rawer and less polished than I’d probably prefer. The grandiosity of the concept doesn’t quite come through, but Gliss and De’Ko’s laidback, stoner flow is solid, punctuating even lackluster lyrics with rhythmic consonance. Even if the rhymes tend to go by without holding focus, they still work in the context of the EP because The Dream Sequence does not make them the focus.
While the concept warrants giving the lyrics some critical attention, The Dream Sequence is truly the show of producers Geez Seven and Les Professionels. The idea of a dream world stems from them. Clever samples bookending the album help maintain the narrative, and on the whole, their intricate, jazz-tinged beats create a hazy atmosphere reminiscent of those conjured by rjd2 and Nujabes. The skillful flows of Young Gliss and De’ko get woven into this fabric, complimenting the stellar production with another layer of rhythm. In headphones, the record hypnotizes. Its hooks are catchy, and its style mesmerizing. It also flies by; at fifteen minutes, the record refuses to be turned off until “Silver Dreams” fades out. The Dream Sequence has the sound to be huge, and perhaps a collaboration with these producers given more time could be. All things considered, though, The Dream Sequence is pleasing and consistent - a phenomenal sounding EP that, though not quite a successful metaphor, is an exciting, chill-as-fuck collaboration from the underground of Philly hip-hop.
You can catch Young Gliss and De’Ko chasing their dreams tonight at The Lengendary Dobbs for Jam House with Dice Raw, Rone, Black Stars and Nicos Gun. - Adam Downer
For those who decide whether to come or go based on the first forty seconds of an album, Restorations’ LP2 is practically tailor-made for snap judgments. After a chiming, anthemic guitar opening, the band already known for fist-raising jams lets all hell break loose with “D,” their most unrestrained opener yet. The drum kit-mauling, earth-shaking bass lines and ascendant guitar riffs can only be described as complete sensory overload, and make it clear that the following eleven songs are going to be fueled by pure viscera. If your preferences run towards structure over huge sound, this release may leave you cold; LP2’s predominant means of exploring the band’s wealth of ideas are stadium-sized instrumentation and endless waves of atmospherics, as well as a dose of ennui.
This is a murkier, more inward-looking Restorations than we’re used to. Everything that was there before, musically, is blown sky-high this time around. They’ve managed to pack ideas into every iota of the song list, aided by Jon Low’s miles-deep production; the density of the music itself is offset by an album-long meditation on place, belonging, and the ramifications of leaving the familiar behind, which makes the outsized sound that much more of an interesting direction. Juxtaposing the existential discomfort with more sophisticated, complex forays into Restorations’ sonic wheelhouse.
The spiraling guitars, one of the album’s specially prominent features, are everywhere, serving various purposes in each song. “Kind of Comfort”’s jittery glam rock aspirations accompany lyrics of searching and wanderlust. Even the more downbeat cuts (“In Perpetuity Through The Universe,” “New Old”) are propelled beyond their subject matter by the songs’ barely-concealed restless energy. At its more pensive moments, like the folk-inflected “Civil Inattention,” there is a restless undercurrent of texture and volatility that never quite lets up.
Album closer “Adventure Tortoise” is all monster buildup laced with extraterrestrial effects, kicking off into a sort of requiem for the band’s neighborhood. “I’d really like to stay to help this place,” growls Jon Loudon through his teeth, but the allure of letting it all go is too strong to resist. The longing for a place “where nobody knows your name” isn’t quite all-consuming enough to inspire real action, but it is definitely the new paradigm Loudon means.
It takes guts to pull off a release that feels ten minutes long but contains more emotional and musical texture than most records. Restorations cover a whole lot of ground on LP2, and for the most part, pull off their ambitions. A bit too sanguine for shoegaze, and maybe too heady for punk, Restorations’ second full-length album brings an intriguing palette of aspirations to their open road-ready sound, prepared to try anything and everything. - Alyssa Greenberg