Mindbender Fantasyland Before Time

The soundscape for Mindbender’s Fantasyland Before Time is mostly densely layered hip-hop productions that occasionally flirt with jungle, bringing to mind the Bomb Squad or El-P, only less noisy. Dorc, who produces the majority of the album, favours heavy bass, drums, and as many instruments and sounds as possible. Vangel, the Orphan, and Mindbender’s Nextra brother Thrysite the Archangel, contribute their own productions, matching the mood of the album while adding new dimensions. And love ‘em or hate ‘em, Mindbender’s back with his guilty little pleasure — a couple of spoken word bits. With "Forever Focus Acappella” and "Finding Freedom Acappella,” Mindbender makes himself the most decipherable you’re likely to get him; gone are the high-speed raps and odd rhythms that make a Mindbender track a welcome challenge. And on the title track, Mindbender combines his love of a cappella with a soothing piano track. However, even with all the highlights — "A Vibe Called Fresh,” "Mellow Hell” and "I Hate To Do This,” among many — it still seems like Fantasyland Before Time is a few songs too long. (Future Echo)