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Lester - EP Review: Lost and Found

28 Aug 2023 // A review by JamieDenton

Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland-based MC Lester (ex-Round Buddha) is not a new name within Aotearoa New Zealand’s independent music scene. Indeed, Lester has carved a distinct presence for himself since his early releases in 2017. From collaborations with prominent artists/groups such as Keith, Molly and the Chromatics, and Boombox Eulogy, to his previous releases under the alias Blunt Tape, Lester's creative journey has been one of collaboration and growth. Notably, his single Scene resonated profoundly within the lo-fi hip-hop community, capturing hearts and ears with its unique vibe. Given this rich musical history, it is somewhat surprising that this latest release, Lost and Found, is his debut EP.

Lost and Found, the EP's opening track, quickly establishes itself with a mesmerising, minimalist lo-fi hip-hop groove that immediately captivates and provides a solid bedrock for Lester’s lyrical finesse and deft wordplay. However, as quickly as the opening motif is established, it beautifully falls apart in a series of carefully, masterfully established bursts of musical energy that punctuate Lester’s rapid-fire delivery. This sonic canvas perfectly matches Lester’s lyrical flow and vocal exploration of contrasting moods – navigating seamlessly between brooding darkness and glorious light multiple times within the span of a single track. With the infusion of Fable’s additional vocals, the track takes on an additional depth, providing new tonal qualities that complement perfectly. As an opening track, Lost and Found is a strong prelude to the sonic expedition awaiting listeners in the rest of this release.

As the EP unfolds, another standout emerges in the form of Super Saturdays, which is a homage to the David Dallas-led initiative ‘Red Bull 64 bars’ in which rappers hit the recording booth and lay down ’64 bars’ of flow. A showcase in its purest form, Super Saturdays is set against a gentle, lush, near-trip hop groove. This incorporation of more jazzy influences within its loops adds to the immediate allure of the track. Amidst this musical backdrop, Lester's lyrical prowess shines, with evocative and playful wordplay woven throughout the rhymes. Delivered at a breakneck speed, it's easy to overlook the carefully embedded moments of wit and pop-culture call-backs, such as the unexpected line 'home alone like a McCallister', which adds a delightful playfulness to the narrative.

Ease, featuring the smoky, soulful vocals of Shellä, The Soul, expertly ushers in a change of pace, offering listeners a glimpse into a different, more introspective facet of Lester's artistry. This track serves as a delightful departure, unveiling a lovesick side of Lester that adds emotional depth to the EP's sonic journey. The song's groove seemingly drips with the essence of sun-soaked summers and provides a testament to Lester's remarkable versatility and musical prowess. This pivot showcases his ability to traverse diverse emotional landscapes and underlines his innate talent for crafting an auditory experience that resonates on multifaceted levels. The arrangement's fluidity, from the fervour of earlier tracks to the mellowness of Ease, contributes to the EP's dynamic storytelling, ensuring that listeners remain engaged and invested throughout.

All in all, this is a very strong EP release by Lester. It features some intriguing and well-realised collaborations and is a solid release that will become a favourite for many fans of lo-fi hip-hop, especially those who appreciate the sheer talent on display here.


About Lester

Tamaki Makaurau based MC, Lester, has been releasing music independently for the past 5 years. The budding rapper was 1/5 of neo-soul collective Round Buddah who were often seen playing venues around the country and the odd Summer festival (R&V, Tora Bombora). Lester has collaborated with the likes of psych-hip-hop group Keith, masters of rhythm & soul, Molly & the Chromatics and rap collective, Boombox Eulogy.

Lester's debut solo project Blunt Tape, released in 2016, was his first with underground beat-maker, Camo. The two have collaborated on many projects since, including his three most recently released singles centered around stream of consciousness, day-to-day and the mundane. Standout track, Scene was picked up by acclaimed label/channel Majestic Casual who featured the song on their Music to Feel Better To playlist. 2020 will see exciting things for the up-and-coming MC/rapper, with new collaborative projects and single releases lined up for the Summer.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lester


Lost and Found
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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