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Album reviews
Studio Monk
Release year:
3.5 Playa Production Inc.
29 February 2020 / by Anita Kadiri (author)

Genres: Neo-Soul, Funk

Toronto producer Junia-T blends elements of R&B, soul and hip hop, into his percussion-soaked debut album, Studio Monk. With this release, Junia-T takes you on an expansive neo-soul trip about love and heartbreak throughout the record’s lustrous instrumentation. Junia-T brings a variety of musicians to record on these experiential jams, inviting prominent local artists such as Jessie Reyez, Sean Leon and River Tiber to name a few. Studio Monk can only be described as fluid and transcendent through its combination of emotionally rich vocals and eclectic beats.

First track of the record, “Tommy’s Intro”, sets a feel good mood embracing funk flavoured beats with the drum and bass instrumentation. The energy is brought to life through the raw vocals and aggressive heavy percussion. This track brings a bounce to the beat, featuring artists River Tiber and Sean Leon who gives a jazzy introduction to the album, with a hook that you can’t help but bop along to.

With “Thinking Over”, Junia-T brings on Benjamin A.D who takes it down a notch to reflect the need to stop overthinking. This delicately stripped back tune effortlessly expresses a tender and mellow emotion. The smooth R&B vocals coupled with the groovy bass guitar and synths make for an atmospheric feel beginning to end. The lyrics are the highlight on this track: “Overthinking kills the moment”, and “I’ve built the same wall, I’m always holding it up”, as we can all relate to the feeling of overplaying situations in our mind.

Junia-T showcases his diverse production style with the sensual, downtempo track, "WYAT" Collaborators STORRY and Only1KNG are featured with vocal delivery switching between grimy distortion and sultry articulation. The chorus is a repetitive call to a love interest that softly explores the relationship dynamic between the two. The vocals take a backseat while listeners are serenaded through a balance of weightless and stimulating melodies.

Studio Monk is a collection of dynamic and genre-defying sounds transcending the boundaries of music. This album is a great introduction to Junia-T as a producer, collaborator and rising Toronto talent. The fresh combination of percussive and experimental production make for a timeless record. Put your headphones on and prepare to be transported through a range of emotions as Studio Monk takes you into interesting new territories instrumentally and vocally.


The author

Anita Kadiri

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