Top Ten by JL
Initially compressed into a side-chaining outline that ensures it’s a pulsing, breathing, living mix, Top Ten features some supremely laid-back vocals from JL, which suit the summery synths wonderfully well. You can almost imagine JL reclining next to the microphone to deliver them.
JL is a versatile Hip-Hop artist based in Indianapolis, IN. He is a popping star in Indianapolis who primarily records Hip-Hop tracks.
Possibly the most unusual thing about the mix of Top Ten is the choice to begin the track with all of the top end bowled off as if we are listening to it from next door. I kept expecting the mix to crossfade so that all of the delineations would slowly arrive. But no, a glitch occurs, and then the beats and the vocals come in virgin capture, while the rest of the backing track leftovers next door. Top Ten also pretty tempting as the rest of the soundscape seems compound and fascinating, but we only ever get to hear the impression of it.
Words are used in stacks to help drive tempo and add huge swathes of padded balminess to proceedings. It’s used as an instrument in all senses. It’s striking. The ululating depth of JL’s vibrato adds movement within the stacks, making it a kinetic set of acts rather than purely ‘here is a pile of harmonies’.
It is incredibly hypnotic. Top Ten rushes by in almost two and half concise minutes that will have you pondering if you blinked and lost it. The mix itself is enormous, vast slabs of sound that have been beaten so that everything feels louder than everything other. There’s a great sense of swirling excess about the whole thing, which adds an almost psychedelic flavor to the listening experience.