Being stuck indoors during quarantine has definitely produced plenty of new music from many of our favorite artists, who have largely been left to write and compose on their own. If you’re Mike Shinoda, however, you have a few thousand collaborators working with you. The Linkin Park rapper has released Dropped Frames Vol. 3, the next installment in his instrumental albums created during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What makes these albums all the more interesting is that Shinoda wrote and recorded the songs live on Twitch, a live-streaming platform. The musician has been going live on Twitch every week for the past few months, connecting with fans, writing new songs and drawing. Fans can redeem points on the channel for different rewards, one of which includes selecting the theme of the songs he writes. This has included everything from “Bollywood Hip-Hop” to country and much more.
There is more live instrumentation on Dropped Frames Vol. 3 than its predecessors. Shinoda picks up a variety of instruments for the tracks, including drums, guitar, keyboard and bass. That isn’t to say that the electronic elements are missing. Tracks like “A Thousand Jams,” inspired by the 10th anniversary of Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns album, builds upon itself until it’s a full wall of sound — not at all out of place in Shinoda’s catalog of work.
Many of the tracks lay on heavy ambiance, perfect for listening while working from home, as well as a number of other quarantine activities. Standout tracks for this are “Sound Collector,” which sounds like a meditation track with some heavy crashes. “Dust Code” is also another notable track, sounding like it came right off of the soundtrack for Mr. Robot — a moody and synth-heavy number.
With all of the very creative themes fans have suggested for these songs, there are a few more lighthearted and fun tracks. “Robot Yodel” is a catchy blend of the above mentioned “Bollywood Hip-Hop” and country. Despite the vastly different influences, Shinoda was able to bring them together in a way that makes you want to hear more of this new marriage of genres. Quite possibly the overall fan favorite of the album has to be “License to Waltz,” which closes out the album. The track brings together Tchaikovsky‘s “Waltz of the Flowers,” 8-bit, Reggaeton, and oddly enough, ASMR. The result is a waltz that we’d venture to say wouldn’t be out of place in the club.
Dropped Frames Vol. 3, out of all three quarantine albums, feels like the most comprehensive of the release. The larger inclusion of live instrumentals allows Shinoda to show his seemingly effortless ability to blend electronic elements with “organic” sound, something he and his Linkin Park bandmates have been known for. The speed at which he is able to produce these tracks, usually between two and three hours, makes these works all the more impressive. Mike Shinoda is truly a multi-faceted talent and has shown through these records that he isn’t afraid to venture outside the box.
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