“Hard work pays off”
– every adult, ever
We never want to admit our parents or grandparents were right when they gave us those four words of advice. We’ve all heard it. As we grow up we somehow unintentionally end up living it in some form or another. For Randall Lewis the pay off came after nearly a decade of hard work.
Plugging away for the better part of the last ten years to settle under the moniker Medicant Downline, Lewis lays his blood, sweat, and tears as well as his wife’s vocals – on the line with Test Subject. The techno/dance infused fifteen track freshman album takes two forms Test Subject and Test Subject Chiptune. Same album, two different faces.
Inspired by the obscure and outside-the-box thinking of books such as A Brave New World and 1984, along with the music of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan, Medicant Downline reaches into the depths of your opinions and appeals to your experimental side. With more layers than a fast food burrito, each track is rich with thought and experimentation. Each takes on a personality of its own. Taking a heavy dose of guitar to almost all of the synthesized tracks broken down solos are no stranger to this album. Most prominently, “Last Hope” utilizes its distorted guitar solo to the fullest, bringing about a dance based jam session with licks that will have you hitting repeat; repeatedly. There is the customary anthem-like “Test Subject” which will leave you chanting “You/ Are/ A/ Test Subject.” With Test Subject, the tech nerd in me is drooling; nothing was held back. Self-mixed on a Roland VM-3100 Pro Digital Mixer, the smooth transitions are obviously done with great foresight and skill. Vocally, each song feels like a subconscious ode to Dave Gahan. Lewis’ deep, strong, though not overpowering voice, which accompanies most every song, often feels flat and underwhelmed while at the same time seems to fit. Alone, it’s not the most groundbreaking voice, it adds without feeling boring or tedious. Combined with his music, it’s a necessary part of a grand picture.
His slick lines, well balanced beats, and ability to take such a familiar style and spin it into an addicting compilation. Enjoyable as it is Medicant Downline, found a way to make it even more enjoyable.
Right now you’re wondering How could it be more awesome?!
Remix it to sound like a Nintendo Game.
Test Subject Chiptune could be easily passed off as a remix of what we’ve been talking about. Don’t be so quick to jump on the labeling bandwagon. This wasn’t simply clicking “remix” in a computer. On the contrary, it was a completely new learning experience. Each track was reworked, rewritten, and rethought in order to strip it down to an 8-bit format. For most bands, this would prove to be a rather impossible task. You know every track one way and reworking them would mean reworking your mind. This is very hard when you’ve already laid down the recording. For the talented intellect behind the project, this was approached with curiosity and a pure love for his art. The result proves to be a creature of its own. Entertaining as hell, you’re left wishing you could hear more albums remade just like this. You can check out both versions at MDBAND.com.
Off the beaten path from most of today’s music and available just about everywhere you buy your music, Test Subject while in the hands of Medicant Downline is fifteen tracks of proof that hard work pays off. Big time.