Jennifer Lee aka TOKiMONSTA is a producer from Los Angeles, California. Creature Dreams is her debut EP on Flying Lotus’s AKA Steven Ellison’s pioneering Brainfeeder imprint, which if you know a thing or two about experimental hip-hop, guarantees that this release has already gained a serious seal of approval from this male dominated family of beat-smiths including Teebs, Matthewdavid, Lorn and Daedelus.
Gender is of course something that should be highlighted in this review, as it’s no myth that women are not exactly rife within the LA beat scene, however Jennifer Lee demonstrates in ‘Creature Dreams’ that she is no mere minion, but a pioneering cohort of the Brainfeeder imprint as this EP is of unprecedented quality and is without doubt one of the strongest releases from Brainfeeder so far in 2011.
In Korean ‘Toki’ means rabbit, ‘Monsta’ means…monster. So clearly, she fancies herself as a rabbit monster, the kind of thing you’d either dream up in a nightmare or a rabbit outfit you’d don if you went to some Donnie Darko themed party. When I read through the press release the first thing I read was that “Most of her music is made between two and seven in the morning.” Whatever she does during the early hours, that’s her business, but after listening to the 7 tracks it’s clear that her woozy beats, sublime atmospherics and broken drums offer the listener a vast reserve of enchanting experimental hip-hop, a vehicle in which you can access the oddest, most beautiful dreams you’ll ever have.
‘Fallen Arches’ is the first of the seven tracks on the EP. It begins with a languorous quality to it melded with mechanical hums and bending pads. ‘Little Pleasures’ introduces us to the first of two collaborations with Gavin Turek on the EP, a slow woozy beat drops in whilst fellow LA based Gavin Turek begins singing her truly spell bounding melody of “I can see the stars…the sun through the rain.”
‘Bright Shadows’ is a bouncy sun-drenched tropical house melody steeped in a deep subbass, a seriously uplifting track. ‘Stigmatizing Sex’ slows you down to the haziest of hip-hop beats, a light guitar gently strums amidst a wave psychedelia adding an organic quality. ‘Darkest (Dim)’ is a sublime track featuring Turek’s exquisite voice as well as a harp and bongo adding a real sense of warmth and a feeling that Jennifer Lee’s creativity is only just getting warmed up.
Overall ‘Creature Dreams’ is a superb assortment of sonic textures and layers of analogue fuzziness, as the title suggests this music is for the early hours, so the next time you can’t sleep after a heavy night, put this on and you’ll soon understand what ‘Creature Dreams’ is all about. All I can say is that I’m pining for her follow up LP, which couldn’t come sooner.