The chaotic and experimental alter ego of art rapper milo, Scallops Hotel, comes at us with a forty minute long sonically villainous and emotionally taxing journey.
Originally a limited and cassette-only release, Too Much of Life is Mood was uploaded to milo’s BandCamp following an outcry by fans eager to hear the project despite not being able to grab a cassette. This project emphasizes warped perspectives, decomposition, and prods at the question of wholeness. With milo being kind enough to put it on a widely accessible platform, it’s time to stop sleeping and listen to Too Much of Life is Mood by Scallops Hotel.
Going into this project, it’s important to remember that this is not, emphasis on not, a milo project. Mood is not to be approached as a soft and thoughtful collection of milo’s internal monologues. Of course, the record has been peppered with literary allusions, theology, and the odd reference to pop culture and gaming, as we can come to expect from the artist overall. Yet, the delivery across the board is not milo’s by any means. Scallops Hotel is dark and disjointed, and this project finalizes his unique identity.
Choosing to keep the upload as a stream of songs, removing the convenience of being able to skip tracks, and keeping it to the experience of listening via cassette tape is entirely deliberate and meant to be part of the experience. It is Scallops Hotel’s way of using another angle to impart the theme of “too much” that he then builds across the album. I implore everyone to avoid looking for a sectioned version of this project and just enjoy the art for what it is.
Scallops Hotel is far more centered on an auditory adventure, most present through the pitch shifts in his voice and the frequent cacophonies, which amplify the horror of what it means to feel. This project takes on the task of adding texture to the sensation of “too much,” to the sensation of willful sensory overload. The first five minutes of this project are nearly tangible with the way Scallops Hotel stacks and stutters the production. Around the eighteen minute mark, we get these bright and sputtering bells, which elicit the image of descending, maybe even skipping down a flight of stairs to an unknown landing. Though this project doesn’t have the amount of lyrics a milo project might, it’s difficult to say that Too Much of Life is Mood is lacking in vivid imagery.
As the byte “don’t forget-get-get-get” reverberates over a jazzier section of the production, we see that Scallops Hotel has an organic and very human flow. The bars are fluid, but still heavy. True, they teeter on being overwhelming in conjunction with the production, but Scallops Hotel keeps things right on the line. This album is not set up to bombard you with abrasive sounds, then write it off as art. There is a certain thought behind structuring the jarring experiences around smoother instrumentation, weaving us in and out of the harsh peaks in emotion. On this project, Scallops Hotel narrowly avoids being jarring for the sake of shocking the listener. All that’s keeping him from reaching his magnum opus at this point is closing the gap between artistry and excess.
Throughout the album, we are repeatedly reminded that “Scallops Hotel is the building,” meaning, that he as an artist is just the vessel for our experiences. It is up to the listener to enter into, if we’re working with the building metaphor here, and really capitalize on that experience. As such, a good portion of this project is driven by samples of dialogue, making the project even less Scallops Hotel’s and much more ours. Again, it is up to us to digest these samples, this project, and attach importance to it as we see fit. On some level, this album is an interactive piece of media.
Too Much of Life is Mood is Scallops Hotel at the best rendition of himself to date. The project is complex in its personality, both sonically and lyrically. There’s an unmistakable human quality in the way he delivers lyrics that have been twice steeped in literary and worldly knowledge. This is a project for everyone to stop sleeping on, for anyone that loves to feel through music, be it through the beats or through bars.