I hate Auto-Tune. It is the bane of the music industry, imbuing those who lack the ability and talent to control their own voice with a superficial, robotic overtone, ostensibly granting them “perfect” pitch. It’s the latest designer drug and everyone’s doing it. The opiate of the average, redeemer of the talentless, Auto-Tune has managed to worm its way into the music industry and pollute the airwaves as seemingly every other song on the radio is cursed with overly and unnecessarily synthesized vocals. As far as this jaded listener is concerned, Auto-Tune has long overstayed its welcome.
So, what does this little rant have to do with OUTERSPALiEN REiGN? The duo of Johnny ROCKET(!!!) and S. McFLYY has crafted a very cohesive and thematically impressive work in OUTERSPALiEN REiGN, and they used Auto-Tune to do so.
There’s an intentionally otherworldly tone about the mixtape and that’s why I found myself enjoying the consistent use of Auto-Tune. The robotic lilt to the vocals and the digital and futuristic sort of musical production makes for appropriately alien sounding tracks. My personal favorite cut is Dreamweaver, as I feel it best represents the type of tone the mixtape was meant to convey. The song itself is dark, moody and possesses an almost inhuman character but doesn’t lose itself in its own dreary atmosphere.
OUTERSPALiEN REiGN teems with emotion, with themes such as unrequited love and longing and while this sort of thing can grow tiring, it’s handled with a deft hand and rarely seems to dwell for too long on any one subject or emotion. The group clearly knows how to have fun on top of conveying a particular message, as demonstrated by the track Let Me Turn U.
What really strikes me about this mixtape is its originality. Now space themes and similar aesthetics are nothing that haven’t been seen before in Hip-Hop and many rappers such as Kid Cudi and Curren$y have experimented with such themes with relative success but the way it’s handled on this particular album is something that I haven’t heard before. OUTERSPALiEN REiGN doesn’t seem to have a singular narrative to speak of but the overarching theme of introducing the masses to OUTERSPALiEN culture and ways of life binds everything together in a way that is refreshingly original and speaks to the creativity of the artists as they play around with different styles and motifs.
OUTERSPALiEN REiGN has prompted me to rethink my position on Auto-Tune. After listening to this, I realize that I don’t hate Auto-Tune and that there is nothing inherently wrong with the software itself. Instead, what I hate is the unnecessary and all too frequent overuse of Auto-Tune. This mixtape has proven to me that Auto-Tune can add to music instead of detracting from it, but only when it’s used correctly and in the proper venues.
So, I advise you all to check out OUTERSPALiEN REiGN and see for yourselves what this duo has to offer. I look forward to hearing what they have up their sleeves for their next work after hearing this mixtape and I am confident that they will continue to impress.
Favorite Tracks - DREAMWEAVER, PULSE, FALLEN