‘Something to Take the Edge Off’ album review

Image courtesy of Facebook.com/MaxDollarsign

album: Something to Take the Edge Off
artist: Max Dollarz
genre: instrumental jazz
release date: June 20, 2020
star rating: five out of five

review by Levi Yager

Max Abood is one of the most prolific artists in the Wichita music scene by any good measure. Starting with the now-defunct metal outfit LIMITS, in which he played drums on both of the albums they released, he’s been involved in a host of musical projects in different capacities. If you’ve been to a few shows in the Wichita, Kan. area, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Max perform. Truth be told, I’ve known Max since all the way back in high school when we were on the drumline together. And I can say with confidence that his debut solo EP, Something to Take the Edge Off, is a perfect representation of his personality and musicianship.

Looking at the tracklist, you might notice a theme: each song title shares the name of a stage in the video game series Super Smash Bros. I know personally that Max is a fan of those games – especially Melee – and it’s cool to see that he’s incorporated his love for them into his love for making music. Contrary to what you might expect, though, these songs aren’t renditions of the stage music from Smash Bros. While there may be a couple subtle similarities here and there, the tracks on this EP are original works and can stand entirely on their own.

A lot of the ideas on Something to Take the Edge Off seem to revolve around just creating a vibe and letting everything settle into that. Nothing is really in a hurry to get anywhere; you’re just along for the ride, floating away on “Rainbow Cruise” and eventually ending up at “Final Destination.” The general feel of the EP is, I believe intentionally, reminiscent of a lazy day playing video games – letting time slip by as you get lost in a digital haze. True to its name, it does indeed take the edge off.

The chill soundscape features velveteen tones and a pinch of electronic dabbling, mostly in the form of fades and skips. Max also utilizes some keys in “Dream Land” – and at one point in the middle of the song, a soundbite of the word “melee” from the eponymous game, which is neat. Even though this EP is mellow to the core, it refrains from being boring. Max adds in fills and new melodies within the songs to keep things fresh. The end result is four tracks that are individually as unique as the stages after which they’re named. If you’re in the mood for something blissfully smooth, then sit back, relax and listen to Something to Take the Edge Off.

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