By: Jack Stein
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Nearly one year ago in March 2011, we were introduced to the sultry, deranged and faded jams of The Weeknd via his masterpiece of a debut mixtape, House of Balloons. We didn’t know a thing about the guy other than the fact that his wounded falsetto and hedonistic lyrics were the things of fever dreams, the late-night soundtrack to carnal impulses that you never knew you needed.
Fast-forward to March 2012, and another mysterious beat-maker has emerged. Google “Mister Lies” and you’ll find youtube videos, a Pitchfork writeup, and hopefully this piece (shameless plug.) We don’t know who he is beyond the fact that he’s from Chicago; such an aura of mystique not only creates inherent intrigue in an artist, it’s downright refreshing in an age of obnoxious oversharing (#thisiswhatIateforbreakfast, et al.)
But all backstory (or lack thereof) aside, Mister Lies is compelling for the pensively gorgeous quality of his music, evidenced by “I Walk”. Set on a minimalistically undulating rhythmic foundation and letting ominous moans cut through the auditory fog, Mister Lies paints a setting very different from the one illustrated by last year’s Big Mysterious Thing. Lies seems less concerned with bringing the 707 out and more interested in the incredibly introspective qualities that the best electronic music can provide. Furthermore, he melds this bedroom-auteur nature with a true sense of cathartic release; the emotionally stirring ascent at around the 4:20 mark is reminiscent of the likeminded Clams Casino, while the alien backbeats seem like the logical continuation of what Aaliyah and Timbaland started over a decade ago. Crystalline yet murky, beautiful yet incredibly sad, “I Walk” is impossible not get lost in, its mysteriously shuffling nature proving more intoxicating with every listen.