After featuring Andrew Cosentino's track "KTV" last week, I have gotten the privilege to review his album Islip Speedway, which was released earlier this week on the 25th.
Listening to the 11-track album once through I felt like the album, which is named after an old racetrack in Cosentino's hometown, intended to capture the essence of the small town, which is located just outside of New York. This was done through a beautiful montage of samples, snippets and soundscapes. The way that the city is sampled in the album works so well, especially when juxtaposed with little snippets of nature, like the contrast between the flowing water and passing cars.
A lot of the tracks are relatively short in length, some lasting just over a minute, which is a very interesting approach. I feel this works really well in terms of the progression of the album- each track always leaveing you wanting more, you almost feel interrupted, but that is part of the charm.
The album kicks off with "66 Bus", and what a little number this one is! It works so well as an opener, flirtatiously reeling the listeners in for the ride they are about to embark on. "Step, Kick, Kick" is the perfect follow-up, it´s slick and gets straight to the point. Then "Diaosi Rock" comes in and it will completely blow you away. It is up there as one of my favourites off of the album. It is soul-ridden and pumped full of emotion, completed by the ethereal vocals...and just when you think it cannot get any better, the guitar comes in and it just kills - in the best way possible of course. I was thinking while listening to this track that maybe all of the components shouldn't work together as well as they do, but oh do they work! And that can only really happen through impeccable craftsmanship.
"Overbite" and "Mitochondria are the Powerhouse of the Cell" are both up there as the albums strongest points and definitely the climax of the album. "Overbite" is flooded with sounds and impressive layers which beg for attention the moment it kicks off. It is such a rich track, bursting with sounds, colours, feelings and sensations. "Mitochondria the Powerhouse of the Cell" is a really powerful track, obviously, because mitochondria ARE the powerhouse of the cell (as you can tell I really dig the title). A lot happens in this track: it is continually building, meandering around, leaving you completely in the dark, while you never quiknowing where it will all end up. I feel like the other tracks prior to this one are part of the build up to this particular climax and interestingly, these two songs are of the few tracks off the album that can work well as standalone tracks. However, I feel to get the full immersive experience of the album, it needs to be played out in full.
The ever dependable "KTV" is there for the perfect wind down after the powerhouse songs; this is such a tune that somehow manages to make you feel like you are floating and falling at the same time. "Let Back" comes next, and this track just goes hand in hand with "KTV". "Useful Objects" totally serves as the encore track of the album, that´s for sure! And it´ll totally get your feet tapping all over again. Then comes "Yak", which keeps things light and bouncy before we lead into the closing track "Void Where Prohibited". Listening to this is like a breath of fresh air and the perfect conclusion to a momentous album. Bravo, Andrew Cosentino, bravo.
It is an album that never leaves you bored, but also the kind of music that you can use to soundtrack your evening with. I also love the use of the oh-so-dependable saxophone (played by the talented Alex Cherney) throughout the album, effortlessly weaving all of the tracks together. It serves like a running theme throughout, instantly putting you at ease; reminding you that you will be home soon. On the whole "Islip Speedway" tells a story in a very impressive way, finding the perfect balance between the contemporary and the timeless. I can conclude that it is anything but predictable, and that is actually a fairly difficult thing to achieve, especially when Cosentino executes it all in such an organic way. And the result? The result is smooth as fuck.
Sidenote: After listening to the album about twenty times or something ridiculous like that, I realised that it kind of mirrors those feelings you have when you are walking through a city at night. Yeah, you guys know what I am talking about! When you get super reflective about life and the city kind of flashes by, around you? It is all somewhat comforting, but there is also a slight melancholy lingering in the air...Or something along the lines of that...or maybe I am just reading waaay too deep into this! Nevertheless, I await in much anticipation to see what will come next for this highly impressive producer!
You can purchace Islip Speedway on Bandcamp.