One may not recognize the name Liferoot. This proves appropriate since the man behind its curtain, Stephen Crabtree, has been going by alias Rally over the past few years up until this past spring. Formally making up half of the Rally + Don Cruso duo of the Flamingos Collective; post dissolve Crabtree moved into his [just south of] Nashville studio and began cranking out what one could call an absolute blended genre – meditative glitch electronic meets modern day hip hop, I.E. our debut full-length project from the 20 year old producer – Medihop.
More After The Jump
It becomes clear right from the get-go that Medihop comes with goals at hand, out for blood in its own right. Most of the tracks take their time, and like meditation or even medication, there are moments that build and occasionally break wide open. See the opener “beautiful” in which subtle keys pave the path for what proves to be an emotional ride of sorts. But as the track evolves, we become trapped in its space, lost in oblivion until the track’s peak which features a, yes, Justin Timberlake sample “what would you do if I told you you were beautiful?”
Medihop does not insist on having interludes, which proves to be somewhat of a paradox since each step is just as much a main course as it is an interlude that ties them all together. However, structure becomes somewhat of an issue when we hit tracks like “Roots” or the remix of Wildlight’s “Twirl Me”. The high hats and bouncing bass seem to not want to stick around, flirting a bit too much and never committing to the depth the tracks seem to be reaching for. But also note how “Bugler” comes after the former and acting as an intermission, the track never seeks out a climax but rather builds blocks on its main riff and shows nothing if not diversity in its chord progression. Lest we neglect to mention the turn of the LP with bass heavy black banger “Vitamends” that mends more soft piano keys with a steady, persistent bass and a snappy, direct beat.
Medihop does dwell on meditation for its entire 42 minutes, and can become chewy and taxing to process, since it insists on only being understood in that light. But the upside to this seems to be right on queue: the purpose of the album proven in full. Go get lost in the residential percussive banter of “Plenty of Fish in the Sea” and lose your waking thoughts, as it has been made clear that these are Liferoot’s wishes and his very mission at hand.
One knack of Liferoot that one will notice after a few generous listens is how he will tie his bass, drums, and either strings or horns together to get the product he desires to output. See how he combines his atmospheres with “Turbulent, The Sea” or album closer “Until The End” which bounces around another brilliant JT sample and settles Medihop‘s thesis indefinitely. “If your love was all I had in this world, that would be enough until the end of time”. Ironically, Crabtree never utters a word on the project, but lets his sounds do the talking for him [that and JT, respectively]. But perhaps the most important notion that must be mentioned revolves around the room left for improvement on the upcoming projects Liferoot will wrap and place under the tree for his audience, whom he undoubtedly cares for; its all in the name.
Download: Liferoot | Medihop