Under Review

So Loki


Owake; 07/02/2016

Callie Hitchcock

So Loki, the Vancouver rapper Sam Lucia and producer Natura’s new mixtape Supermanic begins like the opening of a portal to a new world. The first track “Sleep” consists of a surreal conglomerate of futuristic beeps, tinkling and bubbling. The lyrics “consciousness suspended” are self evident in the initial aura and tinged with deeper emotional foreboding in the concurrent lyrics “There must be / There has to be / More.”

“Unhealthy” continues down the rabbit hole, with Lucia half barking assertions into an audio abyss, hoping they catch. But overall the lost feeling persists. He yells into what sounds like an echo chamber, encountering verbal spasms of what could be considered “the self” but remaining unsure and rolling in the discomfort of the unknown. This separation of identity from reality sprouts from a menage of disillusionment, doubt, and anxiety-ridden statements in contrast with hard, confident ones. In “Unhealthy,” Lucia laments, “Is this real or just a dream?” … “I need shade to hide my face but I’m not phased by the garbage / I feel so lethargic / I’m supposed to handle this speech / But can’t stop cl-cl-clenching my teeth / I need my sleep.” Jenny Lea, the featured artist on the track sings, “I’m tryna come up but instead I just get high / I said I’m tryna come up but instead I just get by.” So Loki present a complex confrontation with a liminal self.

“Head Out The Window” moves the album narrative into daytime with the sounds of a couple waking up in the morning, thus signaling that the first two songs were a dream state. After a quick interlude of half-lucid mutterings, the song diverts into powerful rap spits, blasting the listener and the album awake no more self-doubt, just a driving beat. “Everytime I open my mouth I hear magic / Everytime I open my mind I feel passion / Everytime I open my eyes I see plastics,” … “I ain’t got a car / I just got a dream but I wish upon a star.” They are awake. They will burn down the world with their determination.

I love that this album has a concrete narrative thread. We move from slumber, morning, party, all the while mapping the rise and denouement of a relationship and contemplating other clouds of thought. However, the abstract ideas can fall a bit flat. “Rebelution”  feels like an unclear call to arms and “Graves” seems like an out of place contemplation of death. It takes a jarring leap from the playful or anxious tones to an excessively morbid “We don’t wanna breathe / One day we’ll all go cold.” While the range of topics are a bit too large the musical versatility is incredible. With Supermanic, So Loki range from sax and jazz to slow jams, fastidious audio landscapes, and dialogue. This album oozes a hypnotic, vivid energy.