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Felix Lee - Inna Daze [Planet Mu - 2019]

Pulling elements from club music and imbuing life into minimal soundscapes, Felix Lee's Inna Daze is a well thought out and very full offering. His debut plays like a fairly dystopic view of the near future, with gray cities, mass transportation, and people needing to go inwardly into their machines to communicate outward. Lush with levels and intriguing journeys away from the narrative, Inna Daze is a great album for the transition from Fall into Winter, and nature into unfeeling urban life.

Inna Daze is thirteen tracks of contrast and interplay with opposing themes serving to bolster their complements. Rooted in a sort of gray grimness, Felix Lee pushes his agenda forth like a train through a city and life not too far off. In some instances, these feelings are very translatable to the present, but it feels more like a call to action than a critique. While the first few listens of Inna Daze show the album as being too tonally similar from song to song, further listens reveal that, while this is fairly true, it is necessary to preserve the message and vibe on the album within. With beats emerging from the fog of technology, an urgency is born and a soul begins to take shape. The vocal interludes add a depth of character to this narrative and helps to expand the scope of Inna Daze, bringing it from minimalist club into "survival ballad." There are a number of guest artists from Lee's camp involved, and they all work together for the common good. Albums like this are best absorbed as a whole and digested as the mind sees fit, so calling out specific tracks feels a bit counter-intuitive. Add to that the overlying, somewhat numbing tonal theme, and this melding is a bit more apparent. Like a pizza, the slices are there, but the melted cheese on top keeps it all together unless enough force or desire. The pizza analogy may seem trite, but it connects to the album's concept as a whole. There is a human element that cannot and will not ever be denied, despite growth, technology, politics, etc. The starker the gray, the more this human color needs to shine. And really, what speaks more to the human experience than sharing a pizza?

Felix Lee's debut, Inna Daze, is a long, lush look at a very apparent and very real future. This grim grayness and lack of self can be stopped, as there is and will always be soul. Inna Daze is a call to action, both politically and artistically. Get up, get out, and make changes, make art, make the future bright both literally and figuratively.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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