Recording information: Baton Rouge, LA (2012); Palm Harbor, FL (2012); Baton Rouge, LA (2013-2014); Palm Harbor, FL (2013-2014).
Much like Clams Casino before him, Louisiana-based producer Suicideyear (James Prudhomme) immediately established a recognizable production style through numerous self-released online releases and remixes. Suicideyear's sound resembles a minimalist version of trap, with hedonistic excess replaced by stark melancholia. His beats are detailed yet straightforward and up-front in the mix, and are never obscured in a druggy haze by echo, distortion, or other production effects. The melodies are similarly considered and refined, and resonate just as much as the hard-hitting beats. The result is emotionally heavy music that never seems content with merely venting or wallowing in depression and negativity, instead opting to be proactive as well as expressive. It almost seems as if Prudhomme is stating "these are my problems, and here's how I'm dealing with them." Remarkably, his music escapes feeling like an aural therapy session, creating an enjoyable and ultimately hopeful listening experience. Suicideyear's first full-length release, the 2013 mixtape Japan, immediately made a splash, being named one of the Top 50 releases of the year by FACT Magazine. Follow-up Remembrance, released on vinyl by Daniel Lopatin's Software label in 2014, was even better, adding slightly more complex arrangements and new textural elements (string and vocal samples, subtle glitches) to his sound. Most notably, the release ends with an instrumental cover of My Bloody Valentine's "When You Sleep," which sounds questionable on paper but ends up being thoroughly successful. Dream 727 compiles Japan and Remembrance onto one CD, and is a powerful collection of material that establishes Suicideyear as a noteworthy, promising artist. ~ Paul Simpson