There’s something about summer nights in Chicago that puts me in a funk. Maybe it’s my distaste for the heat mixed with perfect circumstances for night walks that makes me all moody yet excitable for music.
Such is the case when listening to Mister Lies.
This kid (yes, a child, he is only 19) is a wizard with ambient music, down tempo, and something he and Different Sleep coined ‘ambient gospel.’ He’s a Chicago local with a penchant for dream making.
This past Wednesday was his official debut in Chicago as a producer at this dive bar/music venue in Wicker Park called Empty Bottle.
That kid knows how to build a solid set list, not to mention listening to any Mister Lies song on massive speakers is a very humbling experience. The music has a cascading effect on your body – my friend and I didn’t speak for the entire set. That’s a very rare occurrence for us. The only qualms I had about his live performance is the amount of time he spent fiddling with effects. I get that for this kind of music it’s difficult to throw curve balls, but it would’ve been cool to see him deconstruct his songs and put them back together on stage. Baths, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Star Slinger, among others, have a similar MO as trigger artists. Having DJed a decent amount and seeing enough electronic shows, I can say that just messing with the effects and EQ’s isn’t enough for me to stay interested.
I’m being hard on the guy, he’s only done a few shows. He’ll figure out a solid groove for himself soon enough.
Earlier this year he released his Hidden Neighbors EP which is absolute gold. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent walking all over my campus at night, or laying in bed losing myself in thought to “Cleam” and “Morgan.” The Jessica Blanchet vocals on “I Walk” are ethereal and yet grounding in the way Mister Lies messes around with them. The music surrounds you rather than something you only listen to.
I don’t know, this kid makes me act a damn fool when a track of his comes on.
Overall, Mister Lies has a very clean production style. It’s minimalistic (which I adore – how very Japanese of me) yet still lush and dynamic enough to keep interest. A friend of mine and I had a long conversation about the way Mister Lies makes music, in that, while it is heavily ambient, the bass lines and drums he sneaks in makes for a more musically rich experience. I find that, while being a big fan of ambient music, songs tend to get wrapped up droning instruments that the song loses itself. It becomes repetitive, boring, and overall a general waste to listen to multiple times.
“Cleam” comes dangerously close to doing this, with it being roughly six minutes long. It’s such a gorgeous composition though, that listening to it alone at night keeps it from falling into the stereotypical down tempo trap. The song has, wait for it, an unbelievably sexy bass line. The vocals make you want to sleep with someone in a destructive way with a man saying to “make a move.” How can you not?
The kid has a gift for composing his music. From the pianos, synths, drums, and especially the bass lines, he proves himself as a natural musician. He recently tweeted that he was heavily considering not making music anymore, not even three months ago, but holy damn is the music community glad that he did not partake in said decision.
We’re just over halfway through the year and Mister Lies has an impressive array of releases on his bandcamp and soundcloud pages. I hope he spends some time working on his live sets ’cause I know there is a lot of greatness coming from this kid in the near future. My spidey senses are going off non-stop about it.