Face Candy Waste Age Teen Land

Before his passing on October 16, 2010, Michael Larsen (better known as Minnesota battle rap champion Eyedea, the rapping half of duo Eyedea & Abilities) recorded a second album with his hybrid improv jazz/freestyle rap project, Face Candy. Recorded over two days at Winterland Studios and a further night live in front of an audience at the Black Dog Cafe, Waste Age Teen Land sees drummer JT Bates and bassist Casey O'Brien jamming to create the atmosphere for, or follow along with, the stream-of-consciousness flows of vocalists Eyedea and Kristoff Krane. Improv music and freestyle rap can be pretty hit-and-miss, as the ability to edit out the low points is limited, but Eyedea and friends do a great job of filtering through 15 tracks demonstrating a variety of styles, from traditional hip-hop to experimental jazz, along with an impressive knack to remain on topic and tell a story with off-the-top raps. I don't know how much replay value is inherent in this type of music, but "Six," a funky song featuring the addition of beat boxing from former member Carnage for a catchy and cool song about a turtle, is in heavy rotation right now. And their use of Auto-tune for "Thirteen," a song about a boy going camping with his father, is the best use yet and always earns a smile. The accompanying DVD is a "making of" documentary on which Eyedea attempts to explain what elevates Face Candy beyond being just another improv band amidst footage of the group recording and other behind-the-scenes antics. Looks like the band had a lot of fun. (Rhymesayers)