By Taylor McAnally
Last Call Zero Gravity
What is the relationship between production quality and music’s ‘quality’? For many, the nicer a piece of music sounds, how it is engineered, mixed and mastered, the efficacy of the gear used to record it, the kinds of effects put upon the elements–these are the kinds of things that stand out to an ear. The engagement of the brain, however, is where the real mark is made by any media. How important is this deeper tickling of the cortex to the mass consumer of music, the new breed of listener who consumes music at a rate absolutely unheard of in any other age of man? Last Call’s new mixtape Zero Gravity impressed many thoughts on me, but none of them had anything to do with the lyrics. It was a very different experience from most that I’ve had with music, it was very interesting and I would really prefer not to do it again. Let’s back up.
From the jump, Last Call’s debut tape impresses the listener’s ear with a well-composed intro. Immediately setting the mood that is aided and abetted by the visual composition of the Bandcamp page (Props for that, by the by. Not enough artists give that sort of thing proper consideration.), we are very quickly introduced to the main throughline of the record, which is a love of weed. It’s almost impressive how Last Call is able to continuously speak on smoking pot in different ways. The thing about it is a monotony problem, however. One could be accomplished in three songs max instead gets stretched over a dozen of the fifteen tracks on the mixtape.
Again, I really want to emphasize just how well mixed and mastered these songs are. I listened both on headphones and studio speakers and found the elements all mixed very well, with an expert touch given to the mastering and effects. For the listener who is looking solely for something that sounds great in their car speakers, look no further, for now. It’s simply not enough to sustain my personal interest, however. Zero Gravity shines most when the subject matters turns to topics other than weed, which pretty much only occurs in the back half of the mixtape. “West Side”, the last track, is the strongest in my estimation. Real-life details of Last Call’s life and times are interspersed throughout the back half of the mixtape, making the songs there much more compelling than rote retreads of how great it is to smoke weed.
The conflicted feelings and thoughts that this mixtape impressed upon me were the highlight for me. I will say that Zero Gravity is thought-provoking in a way I haven’t found many tapes of this variety to be. The production carries itself throughout the release, everything sounds good and nothing is out of place. I’ll let y’all in to my process just a bit here: of the ten points that a particular record can score with me, five of those are for production values. Last Call has scored a perfect five in this area. The other five come from lyrical content, interesting rhyme schemes and intriguing subject matter. In this field, unfortunately, I have to give Zero Gravity a single point, for the last two songs on the tape. Other than that I found myself very disconnected from the material. Still, if you’re looking for something to cruise and smoke to, Last Call has got you covered.
Standout Tracks: “Hold It Down (4 My City)”, “West Side”