There are two different “LASERS” I listen to – one is made of three people and the other is a solo, Portuguese beat-maker living in the Netherlands. His name, which I have no hopes in pronouncing, is João Lobato and holy damn, is he a wizard at mood music. His debut EP, released two weeks, ago is a solid 4-track release, followed by seven remixes from various artists, with each title being a city in Europe. Based on the little research I’ve done on the guy, these cities hold a close place to the guy’s heart – “Amsterdam” and “Porto,” are cities where, one he’s basing his life out of and the latter being part of his motherland, makes for a very personal EP. You can find a link to download his free EP from the label itself.
<blank stare> This made my jaw drop. Maybe it’s because I’m slightly obsessed with glitch, electronica, and dark melodies in general, but I was floored with this opening track. Amsterdam as a city has always seemed to me to be a place of disillusioned dreams. That’s most likely due to its drug-ridden stereotype, but this is a song that describes the city from an outsider’s perspective. You can he loves it there, feels a deeper connection to the place, but it’s still not quite home. The drum lines, haunting vocals over synths… oofoo. I can’t get enough of it.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling in Paris when I was younger and this song makes you want to grab a pain au chocolat from a patisserie and stroll down the River Seine while listening to it. “Paris” is what you want Paris to be – sweet, bubbly, and everyone wearing fashionable hats with long jackets in the fall. I just see colors listening to this, with the bouncing piano break, and giggle-worthy synths.
This makes me homesick. I know nothing of Porto, but listening to this makes me want to drive around my own hometown and quietly go through memories of living there. You can feelhow much he loves the city just on the pace of the song. The distorted vocals are what does it for me. Pretty beautiful overall.
“Berlin” did not stand out to me as strongly as the first three tracks. I zoned out until I heard the droney, pseudo-sitar like line he has going about two minutes into the song. It’s has the most “live” sounds to it, which suits the bustling, urban aspects of Berlin. It felt the most cityish out of the entire EP, but didn’t cut it for me.
5. Amsterdam (Blac Koyote remix)
Creepy. So creepy, haunting, and ghost-like that it’s absolute perfection. Definitely play this late at night with the lights off. It’s an out of body experience. The bass lines alone are jarring as all hell.
6. Amsterdam (Ruddyp remix)
This feels very Star Slinger esque, with the more “in your face” production of the drum beats, synths, and layers overall. I have nothing against it. This particular remix makes me want to be yelling off a bridge and maybe have a breakdown. If I had to put it in a movie, it would be when the main character is driving through a dark tunnel and the movie suddenly cuts out into credits. I dunno why, it’s just an instinct.
7. Amsterdam (Sun Glitters remix)
This particular remix is reminiscent of HEALTH production. It keeps the overall melody of LASERS’ original track, adds old-school synth lines, and creates a new, slightly disturbing song instead. It’s cool in its own right, and stands out beautifully among the three “Amsterdam” remixes.
8. Paris (Elite Athlete remix)
“Am I in a video game?” was the initial reaction. It felt like I was playing a hip version of Midnight Club II, which I have nothing against – it put Felix da Housecat on my radar back when I was a tween. It keeps true to the upbeat feel LASERS pushed towards in the original version. Kind of reminds me of Postal Service in its punchy delivery of drum beats. Recommend it for a late summer drive.
9. Paris (Stereoboy remix)
More video games. Lasers! PEW PEW PEW. Then we get a fade away into a very broken down remix. It’s the kind of song you’d listen to on a bench and stare out at the River rather than walk down it. I want to smile and cry at the same time when it’s on. The lack of drums will do that to ya. The intricate layering Stereoboy puts into the various piano lines is so interesting to hear. After multiple listens I’m still finding new parts to enjoy.
10. Porto (Daily Misconceptions remix)
Such a sweet remix, and I mean that in the sugary way. I want to fall asleep to this sound due to it’s lullaby qualities. I love the revs up and down in distortions throughout. It sounds like Wall-E looking through his collection of human treasures. The ending is so cool ’cause the song seems like it’s going to fall apart, but doesn’t.
11. Berlin (Sam A La Bamalot vocal remix)
Obviously this remix, and track for that matter, stands out the most since it’s the only one with legitimate vocals and lyrics. The vocals themselves don’t do it for me, but I like the ideas presented. I feel like it’s missing something despite all the added goods to it. Dunno, not a huge favorite – too disjointed but not in the right way.
The LASERS only portion of the EP is addictive. “Amsterdam” is still my number one off of it, with “Porto” and “Paris” being tied for second. Listening to the latter makes me feel happier, whereas Amsterdam satisfies that darker sound I’m always seeking. “Berlin” finally started doing it for me after listening to it through a few times. Overall, it’s a great debut EP for LASERS. Well executed, gorgeous artwork for the cover, and with excellent supporting remixes.
Having a nightcap and reading Game of Thrones now. Cheers, good people,