ALBUM REVIEW: Mike Shinoda – Dropped Frames, Vol. 2

Release Date: July 31st 2020
Label: Kenji Kobayashi Productions


Only mere weeks since the unveiling of ‘Dropped Frames, Vol. 1’, Mike Shinoda has made good on his promise of the imminent arrival of a second instalment.

A brief recap: since being holed up in quarantine along with the majority of the population, the Linkin Park mastermind has kept himself sane and artistically focused by producing material online via his Twitch account. Encouraging input from fans, Shinoda has been openly collaborating with his followers to spontaneously create unique and dynamic tracks, which are then ultimately doctored into fully realised studio versions.

While the first volume was somewhat scatter-brained and unfocused, it added immensely to the charm and non-traditional blueprint that the songs were built upon. Dynamic and free-roaming in nature, the instrumental collection was surprising and entertaining, although there’s no denying that it felt somewhat rushed and incomplete.

It then came as little surprise that volume two was near completion just as the first was made available for public consumption. Firstly, taking this as a stand-alone album, one thing becomes abundantly clear. This is a much more focused and restrained endeavour while simultaneously more expansive. Although shorter than its predecessor by approximately four minutes, there’s a much greater sense of scope and pacing which allows proceedings to flow like a structured album rather than a random compilation of diverse instrumental work. There’re also more features, with the inclusion of Money Mark and Elise Trouw as well as the return of Dan Mayo, further suggesting this second volume was approached with slightly more professional flare.

Teeming with playful ideas, from glitch-pop boom bap bangers to densely atmospheric, ambient meanderings, the continuing musically untethered lunacy of such a mainstream artist is truly a delight to behold. Closing track, ‘Party Meow’, is one of the most bizarre pieces that you will ever see Shinoda‘s name attached to; a bonkers UK-inspired love-letter to garage, Latin funk, and synthwave all in one fell swoop.

What’s probably the greatest accomplishment, however, is the clear elevation volume two offers its predecessor. Combining the two into one extended listen, clocking in at just over one digestible hour, paints an intricate audible image of nuanced experimentation. ‘…Vol. 1’ really was just the tip of the iceberg, the prologue, which makes far more sense in hindsight when re-evaluated alongside its successor. All in all, both albums/volumes further prove the seemingly endless extent to Mike Shinoda‘s capabilities as a unique, bold, and inspired producer.