Henry Steinway is an LA based producer known under the pseudonyms Clockwork, his electro house project, and RL Grime, a persona more focused on hip hop and trap music as shown in his album VOID, the first full length album under either alias. RL Grime first started to gain popularity with his remix of “Mercy” by Kanye West and singles including “Grapes a la Vodka”. His first major success came with the release of his High Beams EP on Fool’s Gold, which reached #1 on the iTunes Dance/Electronic chart. When paired with periodic remixes released for the likes of Chief Keef and Benny Benassi, Grime has grown as one of the best known names in the trap industry.
This first album, released on his WeDidIt collective, is Steinway’s twelve track exploration of the deep sea, the void of the ocean. The album opens with the ominous, bass heavy “Always,” essentially holding that theme until the climactic ending of the album. While this LP continually impresses the listener with stellar production throughout, some of the tracks on the album, including “Always” and “Julia,” do not feel incredibly original, lacking any sort of signature from Steinway. The album also runs into trouble when RL Grime shares the stage with one of his four featured artists. “Danger,” the second track on the album, features the German producer Boys Noize, and if the incredibly annoying vocal of the song’s title echoing incessantly throughout doesn’t make you want to stand up and turn off the record, then the disappointing and out of place house that composes the rest of the song will. Big Sean is the next and arguably biggest feature with “Kingpin,” a song that, if you force yourself to suffer through Sean’s singing, will display RL Grime’s impressible ability to produce great hip-hop. When featuring How to Dress Well in “Reminder,” another forgettable beat plays the backdrop to HTDW’s smooth R&B voice with a surprisingly bad falsetto from the singer sprinkled generously throughout. The only shining light in the features is his pairing with Djemba Djemba in “Valhalla,” a track that displays Steinway’s trademark ability to write music with bowel-shaking bass lines. When coupled with two of the singles “Core” and “Scylla,” this album has some incredible bangers that show why RL Grime is at the forefront of his genre. The final song, “Golden State” brings the entire album to absolution, shedding the warning tone of the rest of the album and giving way to a sort of euphoria, ending the album in incredible fashion.
When all is said and done, this record is a good overall electronic album. It has everything expected of a contemporary dance album, but because of that, Steinway makes concessions on his ability to produce spectacular trap music in order to explore other areas of the expansive genre that is modern EDM. When sticking to his guns, Grime does not disappoint in this album, with around half deserving of high acclaim, and the other half forming an anchor, preventing him from completing his deep sea adventure, keeping the LP from fully entering the VOID.
Fav: Scylla, Core, Let Go (Interlude), Golden State
Least Fav: Danger (feat. Boys Noize)