Lizard aka Michael Cheney is a college student who is just getting into music production. He has been experimenting with LMMS for about a year. On his release The Voicemail of Cthulhu he implements lo-fi sounding guitar with virtual instruments into instrumental songs.
In this day and age production has gotten so easy to do with DAWs that you really have to be ahead of the curve to get noticed. Cheney is still in the early stages of his development and isn't yet competitive with the production of an artist like Nicolas Jarr or Arca but has some potential.
The music is percussive heavy but rarely feels like there is much kinetic energy. I would say the drums often feel separated from the other elements. This album is long. A little too long to sit through in one session. Cheney falls victim to the common mistake for novice musicians by putting out a surplus of music instead of leaning towards brevity and releasing your strongest material.
On that note there are some cool ideas on the album and after spending some time with this album he could have easily made this album two or three sprawling tracks. He utilizes a very similar palette of sounds for each track and the songs bleed into each other.
“Under the Pine Needles” opens with subharmonic bass. He quickly implements a move that he utilizes throughout the album which is suddenly switching up elements. The guitar is introduced which is scattered throughout the album. Up next is “Secret Information” where he utilizes the same techniques of introducing sounds without warning.
Other songs like “Hammer” sound frantic while “The Terror of Toon Town” sounds like the title. Cheney does have some talent but I have some advice. Even instrumental experimental-like music such as Amon Tobin, Andy Stott and Arca find a way to tug at your emotional strings. There just isn't much emotional resonance to these songs. It reminded me of Jon Cage to some extent however Cheney’s music is in fact too musical to just be “sounds that exist.” In this case I think finding a way to bridge the emotional gap would behoove him.
This is a decent start for someone who has been playing for as little as he has. He still has a good way to go but there is potential here.
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