We don’t usually take age into account in our reviews. Younger artists are not necessarily amateurs, while older artists are not necessarily accomplished. One never knows when an artist might peak: early, late or mid-career. This being said, Finland’s Lapsihymy made a point of telling us his age last year when he released his first tracks at the age of 16, and again this year when he released his first pair of EPs at 17. So it’s fair to say that he is much better than his youth might imply; his tracks are both playful and mature, and can easily compete with others in the genre of atmospheric, instrumental hip-hop.
The closest comparison is to Botany’s Lava Diviner (Truestory), although others in this category include (exitpost), nahsolo and Smileswithteeth. This music is a blend of beats, bells, beeps, ambient washes and (very) light vocal samples, producing an upbeat, happy tone. The two EPs sequence well back-to-back, with our recommended listening order being losing grip followed by you’re alright. This allows the best tracks – “felt” and “you’re alright” – to land at the beginning and end. But every track is solid, a rare feat for anyone, much less a new artist.
“felt” is based on a series of stutters, coming across as a high-tempo version of bvdub. Multiple syllabic lines rest upon a mattress of snares; a speed-enhanced harp provides an early repeated riff, while a high-pitched chime takes its place in the late going. “alien” slows things down, offering X-Files synths, while the title track is built around a looped female vocal, ricocheting from speaker to speaker. “yksin täällä” offers a surprising turn into drone, as clouds overtake the reflection in the river, filling it with white. It’s a welcome turn for the artist, as it displays his diversity.
The beatless “yksin täällä” makes a perfect introduction to “Olemisen riemu”, the first track of the EP you’re alright. The track starts slowly, but by the end has doubled its tempo. “Dive” shows the artist’s subtler side, as the bells are more prominent than the beats; the drone re-emerges in the final minute and sticks around for the opening of “Damn”, connecting the two EPs. The title track is worth sticking around for, as it’s the artist’s best piece to date: as settling as its title, “you’re alright” brings the set home, lifting the spirits while calming the mind.
Our advice to the artist is simple. There’s no need to change a thing about the music; just make four more solid tracks, combine the set on an album, and find a stunning cover to capture the vibe. These two EPs make an excellent start, and we are confident that the streak will continue. (Richard Allen)