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COLUMN: TOKiMONSTA releases new album after health scare



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TOKiMONSTA, the stage name for producer Jennifer Lee, released her newest album, “Lune Rouge,” on Oct. 6. Lee, who has been making music for seven years, began production on the album in late 2015.  Buy Photos

TOKiMONSTA, aka producer Jennifer Lee, has been making music for seven years. Her newest album“Lune Rouge,” released on Oct. 6, began production in late 2015.

 Shortly after beginning the album, Lee was diagnosed with a rare neurovascular condition called Moyamoya, according to TOKiMONSTA’s website. Two major brain surgeries and a year later, “Lune Rouge” was finally completed. 

The songs on the album sound similar enough to be on a playlist together, but a little too different to be on a cohesive album. If the listener were to go in blind, they may assume it was just a playlist made with similar sounding songs. In an interview with the New York Daily News, Lee said that the album is a “playlist of songs for one person.”

TOKiMONSTA has done collabs with some big names, like Anderson .Paak on “Put It Down” from her 2016 album “FOVERE.” Lee has also worked with some of the best in the production side of the business. Her 2011 “Creature Dreams EP” was released under Brainfeeder, an independent record label founded by Flying Lotus. Now, TOKiMONSTA releases albums, like “Lune Rouge” for example, under Young Art Records, an imprint she launched in 2014.

The album “Lune Rouge” opens with a slow instrumental track titled “Lune” that flows effortlessly into a more upbeat track “Rouge.”

“Rouge” is full of snappy beats and incorporates everyday sounds, like someone pouring a drink and tapping a glass with a fork.

The album is a techno album with an old ODESZA feel to it. The tracks have soft, dreamy vocals that I’ve always known ODESZA to have in their older tracks especially.

The album features artists like Isaiah Rashad, Selah Sue and Joey Purp. The songs never get super up beat, but they’re great to relax to. The song with just beats and instruments soothe the listener, while the songs with vocals and instruments give the listener something that can be easily sung along to. 

TOKiMONSTA is a classically trained pianist, and the listener can tell when listening to the song “I Wish I Could” featuring Selah Sue. The piano flows seamlessly with Sue’s vocals. The piano combined with clapping beats and Sue’s beautiful voice create something that can be relaxed to and played while doing something a little more strenuous, like working out or dancing.

The album consists of 11 songs, but it only lasts for 39 minutes. Some songs, like the three and a half minute “NO WAY” featuring Isaiah Rashad, Joey Purp and Ambré, could go for 39 minutes themselves and it wouldn’t be an issue.

“NO WAY” sits at number four on TOKiMONSTA’s most popular on Spotify, and Lee has chosen the single as the “Artist’s Pick” on Spotify as well. 

“NO WAY” precedes “Don’t Call Me” featuring Yuna, which is sitting at number two for TOKiMONSTA’s most popular. If you’re an ODESZA fan, this song incorporates a similar sounding dreamy vocals and a great beat. 

The album “Lune Rouge” incorporates clapping and snapping beats, relaxing instruments, beautiful piano and hauntingly beautiful vocals. It’s a great album to have on repeat to while sitting on the porch with your feet up, relaxing, reading for class and listening the rain.

For my playlist this week, I decided to keep it mostly chill with a few upbeat songs sprinkled in, much like “Lune Rouge.” I added three songs from “Lune Rouge,” and a couple ODESZA songs that remind me of some of TOKiMONSTA’s work. I added artists like Flying Lotus, Shlohmo and Cashmere Cat into the playlist as well. This hour-long line-up is good for walking to class on rainy days, where everything feels muffled and a little bit sad. Listen to it here

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