Album Review | Vale-Smith – Rekindle

This album was released on August 27th this year. Vale-Smith is a producer who I’m actually friends with. He’s pretty active in the online music discussion community under the name Buffalo Staple. I promised him that I would review an album from him like two years ago, and I never did it. I was starting to feel pretty bad about that, so that’s why I’m finally covering his latest project. This is actually my first time listening to a full release from him, but I’ve heard a couple of his beats before in the past. I should clarify that he’s not a rapper. He’s a producer who makes Electronic music. I’ve covered some Electronic music on this blog in the past. I’m not super familiar with the genre, but I’ve enjoyed work from some artists that fall under that category, like Daedelus, FlyLo, Shlohmo, etc. Anyway, since this was my first time listening to a full project from Vale-Smith, I didn’t really have any expectations. I was just hoping that I would enjoy it to some extent.

The album begins with a song called Wanna Fly. I’m gonna be honest… As soon as this shit started I was kinda mesmerized. I actually really like this shit. The beat here is really colorful and melodic. I like how it gets a bit more percussion-oriented around the midpoint. Also, starting at 1:23 this shit gets really good. I mean, it was already good, but that’s my favorite part of the song. I’m sorry, I’ve never been great at talking about instrumentals. I can’t go into that much detail, but this song is really good. I think it’s dope. The following track is called One Conversation, and it’s even better honestly. This beat is really gorgeous. It kinda reminds me of something that Zavala would produce for a Dark Time Sunshine track—specifically for the album ANX. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. Again, it’s really melodic and colorful, and actually kind of poppy sounding. Not in a bad way though. It makes me want to dance. It’s a really pretty instrumental. I love it. I think it’s dope as hell. It transitions into the title track, Rekindle, really well too. This track is also fire. It’s a really complicated-sounding beat. There’s a lot going on here. Actually, you know what this music reminds me of? I’m sure some of you guys are familiar with Iglooghost. That’s who this makes me think of. I think the word is maximalism. That’s the best way to describe these beats in my opinion. There’s a shit ton going on, but it never sounds like a cluttered mess. It’s like organized chaos. I love it. This track is dope as hell, especially at 1:45. The following track is called Starlight, Beamin’, and it’s probably the most danceable song on the album up to this point, although not necessarily my favorite. The melody here seems a little simplistic—it’s pretty much just two notes—but it’s still enjoyable to some extent. There’s what sounds like a sample of someone saying “starlight, beamin'” in the background with the same flow that Fivio Foreign used when he said “Shittin’, poopin’.” The melody switches up at 1:40 and gets more interesting in my opinion. This song is cool; I enjoyed it to some extent, and I don’t see myself skipping it when I return to this album in the future. With that said, it’s one of the weaker moments on the project to me. I still like it though. It’s pretty good. Track 5 is called Downloading, and it’s a bit more chill than the preceding material. I actually like the change of pace a lot. This is one of the shortest songs on the album, but it doesn’t sound incomplete or too scant. Also… Dat violin doe. That shit sounds fantastic. The song is really dope. The following track is called Glade Road, and it’s way more energetic. It sounds like energy in the form of music. I feel like I just snorted a pixie stick whenever I play this track. Once again, there’s a lot going on here. It’s a very melodic, colorful song. I know I’ve been saying that about pretty much every track here, but I really mean it. Shit, I’m starting to sound like a broken record. I feared this would happen. I’m really shitty when it comes to breaking down instrumentals, so I’m running out of ways to describe this shit. I really fuck with this track though. I think it’s dope. The next song is called Sucker Punch. It starts off with some really heavy percussion. It’s less melodic at the beginning than most of the preceding material as well. Eventually that kinda changes though. I honestly think the first minute of this song is kinda uninteresting. Things don’t really get going until after a minute, but the song eventually gets pretty good. The melody gets a lot more entertaining. The percussion was already on level 100 before the beat kinda switched up, and it just keeps going crazy. The drums are very hard-hitting. I think the song is pretty good, although not really a highlight for me on the album. Track 8 is called Perfect View. This shit is pretty great. The song was solid enough at first, but when those motherfuckin’ piano notes came in after the first 28 seconds I creamed my pants. This song feels a bit more emotional sounding than most of the other tracks up to this point. I mean, the other tracks just sounded like pure fun and euphoria, while this one sounds a bit more somber. It’s a really dope track. I fuck with it. The following song is Ice. Things finally slow down for once at the beginning of this track, and listeners are given a second to breathe. The song really gets started after about 34 seconds. It’s actually one of the more danceable tracks on the album in my opinion. The vocal sample actually adds a lot to this song too. This is one of the longest tracks on the album, but I didn’t even notice on my first listen. It doesn’t feel like it lasts too long or overstays its welcome at all. I really enjoy it. I think it’s dope. The next song is called Kismet, and it’s pretty good. I really like the melody here. Once again, the percussion is really chaotic and fast-paced, but not in an annoying way. Fun fact: Kenny Beats once used the word “masturbatory” to describe Vale-Smith’s percussion. I can’t remember what the beat that he was commenting on sounded like, so I can neither confirm nor deny his claim. I wouldn’t use that word personally for what I hear with this album though. Anyway, this actually isn’t one of my favorite songs on the album personally, but I definitely enjoyed it to some extent. I think it’s pretty good. The next song is called Just My Luck, and it’s the longest song on the album. I’m gonna be honest; when it first started I was worried that I wouldn’t like it. However, once I reached the 0:27 mark my fears were extinguished. I wasn’t crazy about the drums at first, but once the more melodic elements came in I warmed up to them. Same goes for the vocal sample. At around the 1:38 mark, this song gets really pretty. It made me think of Kingdom Hearts II for some reason. Specifically Hades’ underworld. I love the last 50 seconds of this song. I could actually hear someone rapping over that part of the beat, and it’d be fire. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. I think it’s dope as hell. Track 12 is called Lightning World. I sadly don’t care for this song. I don’t think it’s bad though. It’s just midpack to me. I just found the rap vocal sample to be pretty annoying, and the beat that he built around it wasn’t enjoyable enough to make me wanna return to this. Also, the exaggerated bass drops that come in towards the end of the song just don’t sound very good to me. I was pretty much indifferent towards this track overall. If someone played it on AUX I wouldn’t complain, but it’s not something I’m ever gonna go out of my way to listen to again. The next track is called Hula. I like this song more than the one it follows, but it’s still just not something that I’m gonna be returning to in the future. Nothing about this track really stands out to me in a bad way. There’s just not much that stands out about it period though. It’s the shortest song on the album, and it kinda feels like an interlude just because there’s not that much going on here. It’s the one song on the album that I feel like I could’ve heard from a different artist. It doesn’t have that typical Vale-Smith flair, ya know? Maybe I’m trippin’. I don’t know. Anyway, it’s not a bad song at all. It’s just not something I’m gonna be listening to again. It’s an okay track overall though. The penultimate track is called Busted. Once again, the production here is very energetic. This track actually reminds me of something that could’ve been on the soundtrack that Anamanaguchi did for the Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World video game. I don’t think the beat here is super interesting, but it’s at least enjoyable enough for me to not skip it when I come back to this album for repeat listens. It’s far from a favorite of mine, but I definitely like it to some extent. I think it’s pretty good. The closing track is entitled Ensign, and it’s pretty great. I’m glad he ended things on a high note. This feels like a good climax to the record. I think it’s a good representation of what this album has to offer. It’s a fun, energetic, melodic, colorful experience. I think it’s a good closer. I fuck with this track. It’s dope.

This is a very good album. I’m glad I finally listened to a project from Vale-Smith, and I’m actually looking forward to the next one now. Again, I feel like I started to sound like a broken record at a certain point just because I’m not great at talking about instrumentals. There are some very cool noises here though. I think I kinda snapped with that Iglooghost comparison. That shit is accurate as hell. Although to be fair, I have only heard one Iglooghost project in my life, and it was just an EP. That’s the closest comparison I can think of though. You have to remember that this is all coming from someone who is not that experienced with Electronic music, so take some of it with a grain of salt. Anyway, I really enjoyed this album. I think it started losing steam after track 11, but it was able to bounce back by the end thankfully. Give this project a listen and let me know what you think. It’s a really fun record to me. I fuck with it. Dope album.

Favorite Song: One Conversation
Least Favorite Song: Lightning World


Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.

Grade: B

Tell me if I'm trippin'

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