LEALANI: FANTASTIC PLANET
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Dome of Doom
It’s no surprise that more and more people are releasing albums before they’re old enough to legally drink in the United States, thanks to the increasing affordability and accessibility of DIY production tools and electronic instruments, as well as numerous new avenues for self-distribution. What also comes as no surprise is how much of this music is relatively uninspired SoundCloud rap, with accessibility and ingenuity being two separate things. So when a nineteen-year-old releases an avant-garde pop album as assured and engaging as Lealani‘s Fantastic Planet, it’s worth championing. Sounding a little like Broadcast or maybe CocoRosie exploring a DIY hip-hop percussion palette, Fantastic Planet is a consistently enjoyable listen. It’s all composed by a woman who grew up immersed in the world of music production—her father is a DJ who fostered her love of obscure synthesizer sounds—and describes herself as a solitary only child, which allowed her the space to create a sound somewhat free of the influences of peers. The result is expertly layered tracks with refreshingly idiosyncratic instrumentation, flashing and flickering like an neon light beneath stream-of-conscious lyrics delivered at a relaxed cadence. Its fuzzy squiggly synths provide welcome character and personality, and Lealani obviously has an intense familiarity with the L.A. beat scene’s technique and experimental ethos. Fantastic Planet is like a self-portrait in brilliant pixelated flourescents—and in a world where so much music comes only in shades of gray, it stands out.
LEALANI’S FANTASTIC PLANET IS OUT NOW ON DOME OF DOOM.