Elixir, MDK FLA’s most recent album, conveys a message of optimism and resiliency in the midst of catastrophe.
MDK FLA AKA Matthew Cobis‘ latest album “Elixir” wowed me. Taking influence from an array of super talents from ‘Nirvana‘ to ‘Daft Punk‘, MDK FLA has proven himself to be a true alchemist of sound. The ten tracks that comprise “Elixir” are nothing short of sound sorcery that transcends genre boundaries. These songs were written and recorded over the course of three days on a float, down the James River in Virginia, and they were completed the weekend after Ian destroyed his life.
“Elixir” which was released on November 5th, 2022, welcomes listeners into a temporality that defines a neurotic transition between frequencies and sound waves. It is an album for the most curious and explorative minds. MDK FLA defines the album’s message as “hope and resilience in the face of devastation.”
“You Better Run,” the album’s first track, kicks off the project with a full EDM production. It does not contain typical EDM melodies, but rather an all-out madness of skill and energy that will blow the cover off your speakers or earbuds through your head! Mixing futuristic high-pitched vocal chops into the melody’s foundation takes pure genius and skill! This is unquestionably an alchemy that few can master. Throughout the production, the song switches from high-pitched vocal chops to a deep and robotic standalone vocal, as well as the late 80s/early 90s synths that combine the best of old school with the sound of the future.
“Triple Threat,” the album’s second track, begins with smoky, seductive vocals and progresses to upbeat, driven guitars. It’s a song that never gets old. The wave of synth bass is carried along by a hypnotic electric guitar loop and EDM female vocals. This song, which makes room for a highly skilled rock meets funk guitar interval, establishes MDK FLA‘s artistry as one of greatness. The combination of electronic futurism and classic rock creates a whole new world to discover!
“Revelation,” the album’s third track, combines the futurism of electronic music with the energy of hip-hop. On this one, the bassline really stands out. A melodic rap vocal, DJ scratches, and electrifying guitar riffs elevate this song to new heights. The song should be on everyone’s workout playlists, ready to infiltrate your mind with its energy-lifting motivational spheres.
In addition, the fourth track “Beacon” is pure pop. This is a track that you would be foolish to ignore, displaying the nature of deep echoed guitar arrangements, intriguing basslines, and stunning vocals. Distant shoegaze guitar adds a relaxing reverb to the track, while equally filling percussion adds to the overall feel. Trap soul samples make all the difference in the piece’s depth. Between the progressive opening and the introduction of vocals, there is a clear transition. EDM vocals are cushioned by bell synths and shaker percussion. Listeners are once again transported into another soundscape, this time one filled with revered vocals and guitar riffs. This is a whole universe within a soundscape.
“The Witches of Arafel,” the album’s fifth track, is full of sway-worthy acoustic guitar strums and guitar plucks. The switch is definitely unique, as is the bassline. Within the Middle Eastern Desert, a bloody transition from acoustic folk to futuristic electronic hip-hop. Most people don’t come up with this idea. Wow. Don’t miss out on what “The Witches of Arafel” have been up to!
However, the album’s sixth track “True Accord” invites the album into its second half, blending pop-rock and hip-hop sensibilities. The guitar compositions are distorted but soothing, and there is something to look out for here. A dominant drum kit bangs its way through the track, while distorted white noise provides an industrial backdrop for the vocals. As they sway through, the vocals are hypnotic, reverbed but clear. Of course, the song, like all of the others on this project, splits down the middle! This song has to be one of my favorites on this album, transitioning from song to rap flows on flows into a reverbed autotuned hip-hop vocal.
“Short Shrift” the album’s seventh track, is a bluesy song with a fun solo. It transports listeners back to the desert, but this time away from Middle Eastern sands and toward Mexican meets American Blues. Straw hats, a couple of tequilas, and you’re there! Take a seat and enjoy the guitar solos.
“Sell Out,” the album’s eighth track, is a fantastic creation! This cinematic piece will have you dreaming and transporting through a whole world, from classical yet glitchy to EDM and hip-hop. The funk guitar emphasizes this artist’s Daft Punk influence, while the vocals provide a wide range of inspirational and motivational lyrics. THIS IS AMAZING. I will never know this level of genius, but I am certainly inspired!
Moreover, the album’s ninth track “Resonate” is a gorgeously warm instrumental that will keep your soul close. Nurturing sounds encourage meditative reflection, while a shift to techno draws listeners into a curious state of mind. Bubbles of bass synths, cinematic strings, and velocity changes all contribute to a song that says a lot without saying anything. There are similarities to liquid electronic music here, but it also has a tribal feel to it. Another fantastic example of alchemy.
The album concludes with “Traversing the Ether” the final track. It transports listeners to traditional Arabian culture. This one had me grinning from ear to ear. Sitars, organs, and chanting are the keys to the Arabian Realm. This is a highly spiritual conclusion to an album that perfectly explored every dimension of my mind.
The album’s lead song does not accurately represent the whole album. In retrospect, none of them does. “Triple Threat”, “Revelation”, “Beacon”, and “Resonate” are among MDK FLA‘s favorites. He believes you’ll be shocked by “Short Shrift” and the most focus has been placed on “True Accord” so far. He wanted a lot of reverb and distortion. The music almost seems to be coming from another planet.
Take your time listening.
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