L.A. Takedown - II - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

L.A. Takedown - II

by Nathan Fidler Rating:9 Release Date:2017-05-12

Aaron M. Olsen has his musical fingers in a number of pies, but this month we’re looking at the instrumental noodlings of his L.A. Takedown moniker. II is the second full-length album, offering up more of the soundtrack-esque songs.

It always feels like it should be more difficult to make a full album of purely instrumental songs; keeping the interest of the listener being the aim of the game. Olsen manages to crack this challenge with great ease. Whether he’s imagining a story in his head or just pulling things out of thin air, it seems to be paying off.

There is an overriding 80s feel to most of the tracks here, ‘L.A Blue’ being a prime example, swathes of synth blistering under yacht-rock guitar bends and squeaky clean keyboards. As off-putting as that should be, it really isn’t. On ‘The Valley’ things are amped up slightly, with swirling, siren-like sounds and a darkly calm bass line.

Elsewhere, on ‘Dose’ and ‘Us’, things get a little nautical, where every instrument seems to gurgle a little and guitars sound like seagull calls heard by a drunk man waking up to blissful sunshine. It’s not all electronic though, as ‘Blue Skies (on Mars)’ illustrates, with a calming acoustic guitar underpinning the soul of the track. He wastes no time in getting the wailing guitar bends involved, but it is always used in a way to lend a track character.

‘Night Skiing’ and ‘The Valley’ wouldn’t feel amiss in a creepy, metropolitan-dystopia science-fiction film, beaming it’s melodies and creating a sense of dread and optimism in equal measure. ‘Bad Night at Black’s Beach’ conjures up the discovery of a robot factory and splashes genuine piano as well as bleeping keyboard over the marching bass, adding more to the sci-fi feel.

If it feels like this album is a bit of a trip, then you’re probably sensing what Aaron M. Olsen intended for you. The instructions on how to listen to the album include “firing up a doobie”, “watching Planet Earth” and “driving in the desert at night”, and it really is as diverse as that.

It’s a pleasure to listen to this collection of tracks all the way through, and no doubt that’s part of the art: choosing the order of your journey. Where the first album perhaps lacked the vitality to keep you entertained, this has it in spades.

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