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Posted on February 28th, 2012 (9:01 am) by Zach Krawczyk

Being unrestricted by rhythmic constraints is opening vast outlets for Justin Hopkins' creativity. Daizo blends heavy textures on tracks, that canvas can not contain. Inspired by his ancestors and named after his grandfather, the album falls short of impressive, but pushes boundaries of artistic media. Releasing today on Non Projects records, Daizo is the product of true artistic integrity.

Starting off smooth "No New Wave" is pure ambient beauty. Close your eyes and you can see the song piecing itself together. Spinning like a carousel every rotation adds a new layer. Musical architecture building upon it self. This blue print sets the course most tracks follow. A construction zone, or work in progress though, often cases not every song seems complete.

"Phantom Wall", "Emergence", and the aforementioned "No New Wave," hold the most musical strength and are the strongest points of the album. Rich ambiance melds into ambiguity. Particular instruments are difficult to decipher, rarely sifting to the surface in the coursing flow. Most notably "Phantom Wall" is atmospheric. Joyous tones lift you up to soar over any wall seemingly in your way.

The carousel spins on, sometimes to a nauseating motion. "Running Tangles" is scatterbrained and disoriented throughout. Ominous shrieks rip through static material like the girl in Poltergeist, trying to get out of the TV. "Mt Weather" teeters on waiting room boredom of stale air and old magazines. Nearly salvaged by a groove worthy back beat, yet only picking up steam just as the song comes to a close. Meanwhile "Convergence" is caught in midst of a jazz lounge brawl. Stuttering saxophone and tumbling piano fight for attention. Each attempt is petty and only succeeds in drowning each other out. Bringing down the potential of the track.

The key to Daizo is interpretation. Internalizing this album with an open mind is the only way to experience it. Being grossly unrestricted by melodic conformity, Hopkins is free to explore the boundaries of sound and movement among tracks. Daizo may not contain many quote unquote songs, as in all art there is an effecting quality, something to be taken away. It still deserves a valid listen and open interpretation. True art is unrestricted expression, and expression is not to be judged. Hopkins embodies his art, taking what is and seeing what could be.

Track List:
1. No New Wave
2. Running Tangles
3. Mt Weather
4. Phantom Wall
5. Me and You
6. Emergence
7. Convergence
8. I'll Be Hard On You
9. You and Me

RareBit Daizo
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

59 / 100
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