Growing up in a catholic family, Michael Carrara was exposed to the music of his faith, discovering his true love for God and music. He started playing the piano at 4, by thirteen he was leaning heavily towards the art, and at fifteen had already released 2 mixtapes and numerous singles. Along his growing up process Carrara also had to attend 5 funerals in one year – events that usually leave their mark on people. This is where people say Michael lost his mind, but he claims it was God’s way of teaching him patience and faith. The “LSTN (Lost Somewhere Totally Nostalgic)” mixtape introduces a fraction of the world to Carrara’s clever lyricism, laid back flow and chilled-out classic sounding beats.
Carrara’s voice is one of the best parts about his sound. His voice soothes the soul while it blasts rhymes at about any number of words a minute he chooses. The phosphorescent atmosphere surrounding his voice, largely stems from the luscious, shimmering production. Although secondary to the genius lyricism and vocal flow, the mixtape’s production is outstanding throughout the entire recording as well.
The opening track “Fruit”, will show you a preview of the brilliant combination of jazzy beats, smooth flow and poetic lyrics that mirrors Carrara’s talent in many ways. Beat-wise, the song excels with a jazz-like melody, featuring a haunting saxophone sample that fits Carrara to a key. I have no doubt in my mind that Carrara has the ability to battle, but on the mixtape he is mainly an intelligent, knowledgeable emcee who tells unique stories in his songs.
“Masks” benefits from a vision that’s simultaneously expansive and soulful. The beat is garnished with a great adlibbing, female vocal harmony. This track sounds like Carrara is recreating hip-hop from scratch, throwing out everything that had come before so there would be enough room for his own idiosyncrasies.
“FlightsBackHome” and “NewDRVG$” introduces audiences to a rapper with a substantial storytelling vocabulary, a sweeping frame of reference, a sing-song flow that evolves into an ice-cold deadpan spit, and a deep, unexpected wit. On “Casino” and “Nobody”, part of the excitement comes from the spontaneity of an eccentric genius constructing a bizarre new world on the fly and filling it with words and ideas.
On standout tracks like “Good Vibes Interlude Part 222” and “Elevators To Bikini Bottom”, Carrara delivers the hip-hop goods with a literary, wryly ironic twist. He has an almost antiquated, sophisticated sensibility, but with no preciousness or pretension. He closes the mixtape, as he started it – with a jazzy, horn filled soundscape on “Las Vegas Raiders”.
The interesting fact about this mixtape, is how cohesive it all sounds – 12 tracks equals’ 12 different producers. Yet the sonics do not stray away from each other. There is a homogeneous mood throughout the proceedings, with of course, Carrara’s ataractic flow contributing in no uncertain terms, in holding the entire project in one hypothetical basket.
Carrara’s flows are poetic, thematic, clever, and steadily paced, in a cadence that is practically his signature. Given its beauty and brilliance, this is a pure mind altering experience.