Thanks to Nothing Lost, his rather fine debut album in 2010, Lorn is the higher profile name in this double act – Dolor has a couple of records to his name but even Discogs.com struggles to offer any information on him. Still, this free mixtape is a mighty impressive calling card; the duo alternate tracks (pretty much) and in terms of mood and quality there’s little to tell between them. Typically for something called Drugs, it’s being offered for free, with the aim of getting the listener hooked and desperate for more from the pair.
Drugs is atmospheric and mostly instrumental hip hop; even when there are vocals they’re chopped and screwed down to subterranean levels. Because of its mixtape nature, there is a sense that some of these tracks might be unfinished – or at least lacking a final smoothing over – which adds to the raw nature of the piece. There’s no neat segueing either; there’s often an abrupt shift as one dark, minimal piece takes over from another.
The slightly shambolic lurches between Lorn and Dolor’s contributions underline that this is not a seamless showcase of two producers’ work. The contrast is encapsulated perfectly midway through “Part II – Super Glue // A Drawing” as airy Atari arpeggios abruptly give way to beats so sluggish the effect is like wading through (cough) syrup. A sampled voice in “Part III – Quarters // Coupons” says ‘I can make it sound fast, I can make it sound slow, I can make it sound any way I want it to’, which neatly sums up the modus operandi of Lorn and Dolor. It is the versatility of the producers coupled with rough around the edges nature that one expects from a mixtape that makes Drugs so appealing. Go on kids – just say yes. (Jeremy Bye)