Archive for August 10, 2010

Lenzmen Album I: Bend and Blur Your Optics

Lenzmen Album I: Bend and Blur Your Optics

Lenzmen Album 1: Bend and Blur Your Optics

There’s a constant switch between cringing and being awed to the point of feeling intimidated. It’s the rush of visiting a former version of yourself and taking in what you used to be. Think about any piece of art to be a snapshot of the artist. A photo album is the same as a music album containing songs that mark different viewpoints, lifestyles and artistic sensibilities.

Make Sure Your Vision Blur


Beyond the general decisions that are relevant in any musical context, there’s a much larger picture for a music group. A lot of what I hear is tied to what I thinking and feeling while these songs were being made. If you can imagine that perfect song that captures the mood of a summer or a movie that resonates or any experience that is etched into your mind and attached to a timeline. This album is certainly that for me.

The album signifies the point the Lenzmen became and rap group and I became a producer. Before this, we were a bunch of lyricists recording together. You can still hear each Lenzmen burning down their verses, but there’s camaraderie behind each performance that didn’t exist before.

Carving a Craft

We were single-minded. Each song stood alone and we believed any song that ‘went first’ would determine what we were in the minds of our audience. Therefore we couldn’t agree on any songs being worthy of being released first since everyone was concerned on how much they shined. We had a terrible system of each person writing on their own and showing up to record whatever they had. This led to odd-man-out songs, where there’s a verse that didn’t gel with the others. It wasn’t that the verse/delivery wasn’t great on its own- it’s just that similar verses point the song in a certain direction and a verse going someplace different disrupts the vibe.

Another system was each Lenzmen kicking verses and the group choosing which one sounded best over the beat. Verses sounded great, but they just didn’t match up and every track was a bunch of freestyles.

I realized that the only songs with full support were those tracks that everyone shined on and they were also about something. It’s not just a song with a main idea, it’s the songs that we wrote behind a concept and more importantly, we wrote together. That’s the gelling point. The Lenzmen became a rap group and although the spirit of competition is still there, songs couldn’t be allowed to suffer for the sake of individual shine. As a producer, it’s my job to make sure each Lenzmen sounds like the best version of themselves. Each Lenzmen has a responsibility to make sure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

It’s appropriate that the album is called Bend and Blur Your Optics since the line blurred between the individual performance and the group dynamic. In an album context, much of this sentiment is lost since it’s about the entire body of work now. There’s enough material to get an overall sense of each vocalists potential. If I was asked which Lenzmen is the best? I’d say whichever had the mic in their hand.

Enjoy Lenzmen album I: Bend and Blur Your Optics and make your own determinations. Head nod to Docktor Strange, Centri and Earthadox.

You can preview and purchase the Lenzmen Album I here.

Also on iTunes, Amazon and other Digital Distributors.