The Night and Day of TOKiMONSTA’s ‘Half Shadows’


The beautiful thing with music is, that while getting what you expect is pretty great, when you get something you never expected it’s the best. That seems to be the case with Jennifer Lee aka TOKiMONSTA, the LA-based beatsmith, producer, and songwriter. The versatility of her style seems as random and spasmodic as her home city. One minute you’re in a chopped up hip hop song, the next a slow R&B crooner, then a beat-heavy banger, and finally some electronic bliss pop. It’s almost a trademark of the whole Low End Theory/Brainfeeder crew. If you think you understand what’s happening, you might have missed the whole point.

So we’re more than amped to see what is happening on her new album, Half Shadows.

With exceptional technique, Half Shadows oscillates between hip hop fire and synth sing-a-longs. “The Center” bangs away on a heavy bass end and a heavy harmonic end, drums crashing into the reverb. “The Force,” featuring the incomparable Kool Keith, begins with a tribal pulse and staccato drumming. But when it hits… you just want another piece of the piece. “Focused Chaos” emotes the funny funk of your 16 bit Sega Genesis games alongside the convulsive mania of Brainfeeder bangers. “Soul to “Seoul” builds into a swirling seduction. Yet “Foolish” might end up being the biggest keeper of the album, a perfect lead up to the inevitably beautiful summer. While the album has the occasional misstep, it provides more than enough beauty and variety to not just satiate your party brain but your romantic bone as well.

April 16, 2013 / By