TOKiMONSTA's brand of experimental instrumental hip hop has a hazy, vintage feel to it. Lush melodies culled from synths and dusty vinyl samples of string, brass and woodwind instruments merge with swinging, off-kilter beats. You can hear shades of classic funk and soul in the mix, too, awash in reverb and other effects.
"Gamble" and "Sweet Day" are seductive and sweet, and could very well be some of the funkiest make-out music you'll ever lock lips to. "Sa Mo Jung" spices things up with motifs built around a sampled Korean string instrument and a breakbeat that urges you to get up and shake it. "Lucid Walking" is another dance-floor burner that features an addictive melody with what sounds like bleeps from an Atari video game. I adore "Bready Soul" because of its minor key melodies and chords, which exhibit a dreamy, narcotic quality. Basically, everything on this record is a total eargasm.
But I'd argue what makes Midnight Menu so damn good is TOKiMONSTA's ace compositional skills, which were born out of studying piano as a youngster. Her ear for consonance and heavily layered instrumentation leaves you aching for more with every spin.
TOKiMONSTA plays KBGA's End-of-Thon Party at the Palace Fri., Feb. 18, at 9 PM with Take and BOOtZ. $5.