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MALAKAI enlists pheel., Bogtrotter, more on experimental EP, ‘Odd Ones’

More than two years after first releasing with The Rust Music, Malakai Linden is back on the label to deliver his Odd Views EP. The four-track project features two collaborations from Denver-based artists pheel., Thought Process, and scratching cuts from Bogtrotter.

On Odd Views, what’s immediately apparent is how the New York City native has deviated ever so slightly from his usual earthy, acoustic, mystical motifs and instead opted for a more experimental sound. The void that remains is filled with something grittier, more urban, and more direct. Not only has MALAKAI‘s sound design and songwriting vastly improved since first coming to The Rust Music, he has harnessed the ability to communicate emotions through sound.

Indeed, the subtle ways he moves and shapes the sounds gives each track a different attitude. Take the sharp edges and spacey synth work of the title track, “Odd Views.” Here, MALAKAI explores funky beats and melodies that make the title a stand-out track. His friends have evolved, too, and it’s reflected in the posture of the entire EP. These producers, who are each heavily influenced by hip-hop in their own ways, deliver great bounce and buoyancy on their features. 

MALAKAI’s ability to communicate a feeling with melody, harmony, and note choice is as strong ass ever. Only now, the feelings are different. The EP still boasts MALAKAI’s signature sound grazing along—moving forward with swing and without haste. Not quite glitch-hop, not quite dub, not quite hip-hop, Odd Views is a crisp homebrew with all these ingredients. There’s less to think about and more to groove on.

Photo credit: Sean Hersch Multimedia.