The ever outlandish music collective from Southern California, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, is mostly known for the brash leader, Tyler, the Creator and the supporting cast of rappers. However, the versatility of OFWGKTA is often left in the dust.
Along with the Tyler’s, Earl Sweatshirt’s, and Hodgy’s of the group are some artists covering completely different territory in the music industry. Whether it’s the singing and songwriting of Frank Ocean or the experimental electronic side covered by the Internet or the Jet Age of Tomorrow, there’s a lot more to Odd Future than there might appear to be on the surface.
The Jet Age of Tomorrow consists of a two-man production team, Matt Martians and Hal Williams. They’ve both played a hand in producing tracks for the rappers of Odd Future, but under the Jet Age of Tomorrow alias, they’re allowed to explore their own concepts and create a much different sound. It’s instrumental hip-hop, and it’s very minimalistic with a spacey vibe.
The Jellyfish Mentality is the third project from The Jet Age of Tomorrow. As the title suggests, this mixtape is a bit of a journey into the strange. The sounds are unorthodox, and it definitely isn’t trying to adhere to some tried formula.
The Jellyfish Mentality sticks very close to the style laid out on the first two albums. There’s unfortunately not a lot to extricate any of the three Jet Age releases from each other. Take any track from The Jellyfish Mentality and you could insert it on Voyager or Journey to the 5th Echelon and it wouldn’t sound out of place. Yeah, the Jet Age of Tomorrow has a different sound going for it. There’s not a lot of instrumental hip-hop out there that has this kind of bravado to it, but the problem is there doesn’t really need to be.
I can’t help but feel like there wasn’t a lot of heart and soul put into each of these tracks. It feels like they played out some melodies and laid down a rhythm and then jumped into the next track. Some of these songs are so bare that they feel incomplete. Others are just completely uninteresting. The thought is hammered in by the fact that there are so many songs. A mixtape with such a minimal feel doesn’t need to be 21 tracks.
The monotony is broken when guests are brought into the picture. Instrumental music should be captivating enough on its own to hold an audience’s attention, which is a problem that a lot of Jet Age tracks have. The music is a lot better when the light is drawn to a complementing vocal performance. Kilo Kish makes a few stops, and her angelic voice adds really changes the vibe.
The highlights of The Jellyfish Mentality come when Odd Future members and associates jump on a track and do what they do best. “One Take” featuring Earl Sweatshirt and Casey Veggies is the most memorable song, and Hodgy Beats does a great job on “Naked”, which almost sounds like a Mellowhype track.
The Jellyfish Mentality has enjoyable elements, but overall its holes are too glaring to make it something most people will be able to just pick up and play. When things come together as they should, you really see the potential. “Telephones” is how this whole mixtape should sound. Unfortunately that’s not the case. If you need some music to play in the background while you’re multi-tasking, maybe then this is the right music for the situation. It’s got a nice spacey vibe to it. If you’re familiar with either of the previous efforts from the Jet Age of Tomorrow, you’ll know what to expect from The Jellyfish Mentality, as it’s really just more of the same.