Ever since Flying Lotus and his Brainfeeder label started landing on crossover blogs, global listenership of the so-called “L.A. beat scene” has been steadily enraptured. It’s probably even fair to argue that as far as American dance music goes, FlyLo and his posse are the primary talking points. One of his most accelerated understudies is TOKiMONSTA, a Californian, by-way-of Japan, producer whose sloshy, narcotized psych-hop has placed her in some pretty prominent company; opening for Bonobo and getting her own feature in Resident Advisor. All for an artist whose discography doesn’t go much deeper than 2010. Her Creature Dreams EP is a fairly straightforward group of songs, a record that won’t sound strikingly divergent or unfamiliar to any of her constituents –but it does continue to reinforce her status as an exciting, relevant, and unique frontrunner of the L.A. crew.
The best two tracks are collaborations with Angelena Gavin Turek. Her flirty, nocturnal croon proves to be a natural pairing with TOKiMONSTA’s glassy beatwork. “Little Pleasure” is the clearest success; Turek wraps herself around a gently oscillating boom-bap – delectably dusty and utterly tranquilizing. It works so perfectly you can’t help but hope it might be the chrysalis of a future, more fleshed-out project – think like the sparks presented on the pre-Postal Service gem (This Is) the Dream of Evan and Chan. Toki is a background worker at heart, and it makes sense she might yearn for a presence to balance out the spotlight.
But she’s perfectly capable all by herself; the bulk of Creature Dreams is the usual collection of head-spun instrumentals. In a sense TOKiMONSTA’s closest contemporary might be Bibio; specializing in goldenrod, period-piece sounds punctuated with rattling drums. Synths and strings crowd right up against each other on “Moving Forward,” the gentle plucks of “Fallen Arches” come off like a fading memory, and “Darkest (Dim)” is pure lounge. It’s hard to see something like Creature Dreams as much more than another stepping stone in a promising career, but if TOKiMONSTA stays this consistent, whatever she’s working towards will be an enjoyable wait.