Red The Chef does lofi a little different on 'Is This It?'

It would be easy to throw Connecticut producer Red The Chef’s latest EP into the catch-all “lo-fi hip hop beats to chill/study to” bin, because it certainly fits the aesthetic. But that listening environment, of filling the background with something to keep your mind on anything but the music itself, tends to mute subtleties and flatten differentiation. Yes, the beats on this EP, titled ‘Is This It?’, have the same warm, vintage processing that has come to define the genre, and yes the melodic samples are fuzzy and pitched around in the same way, but there are also elements that are squarely Red’s. Most notably, his tendency to drench every element in dreamy reverb creates a unique space for the tracks to sit in, as well as the presence of detuned acoustic instruments that float in and out of each track. The effect is something like listening to music blasted distantly in the park on a warm summer day, instilling a feeling of limitless boundaries, inspiring those nights of aimless exploration. It’s liberating to move about without knowing where you’re going, and this EP might just be the perfect soundtrack to make it happen.

Stream the title track ‘Is This It?’ above, and hop over to Spotify to hear the full EP.

— review by autonomy

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Sample, soul, sincerity in Anthony Bailey's 'Don't want you to go'.

We covered a release from Anthony for his ‘Maelstrom of Thoughts’ Ep back in February when we talked about higher values within a hip-hop collective and how Bailey distanced himself from the lime-light instead always putting his peers front and centre stage. Not much has changed in that regard where you will still find blank bio’s on all of his socials and music platforms which is extremely refreshing. Remember the days when there was such a thing as mystery/privacy! When all you got was a few random interviews and some accompanying stills. In an age where all abstruseness can be banished with one click it’s gratifying to see an artist still holding it down and applying a rare, ethical code to his craft. 

Speaking of craft ‘Don’t want you to go’ is a track built entirely around a vocal hook that is unapologetically omnipresent throughout, showing a reverence for sample flare and technique. What this creates is something nostalgic, warm and sincere while being celebratory about the trade of hip-hop. Perfect summer, lo-fi listening. 

Catch more from Anthony here: Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram

Moshuss and Hanses take inspiration from Japanese pop culture for their beat album 'Poltergeist'

If there was ever any doubt that music styles in our current age are a global phenomenon, let Moshuss & Hanses put that to rest. The German duo’s debut release, ‘Poltergeist’, is classic American west coast beat scene, but produced entirely with Japanese samples. As is common with the style, Poltergeist is composed of 24 rapid-fire beats, none longer than 1:49. But there’s a wide variety of moods and feelings presented here, giving the release weight and texture that pull you in at the start of every new beat. There’s some Dilla-style sampling, some Q-Tip jazziness, classic Madlib texture, and a bit of Knxwledge whimsy to boot.

On the stand-out track ‘Sidmidak’, which you can stream above, Moshuss & Hanses deftly meld a heart-tugging orchestral arrangement with a classic rap beat that dances around the lush string harmonies. Label Fennek Records has pressed a small run of 10” vinyl, with 5 different woodcut-style illustration album covers, which match the timeless mood of the album well.

Slink on over to Bandcamp to hear the album in full, and pick up the vinyl release if you’re really feeling it.

— review by Autonomy

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Sebastian Kamae explores the dynamics of lo-fi in 'Nomad'.

By taking one look at Sebastian Kamae’s instagram, you will get a pretty good idea of the Dutch-born producers day to day life. Snapshots of mixing consoles, art work and collaborators tell the tale of a producer who only does one thing and that is eat, sleep and breath music! And it seems like Kamae has been on this path since a young age when he first took up piano. From there, he went on to start producing beats in middle school and performing in various bands playing keys. Then in 2017, Sebastian decided to focus solely on engineering and producing after a move to Chicago where he began his internship at SoundScape Studios. Since then, Sebastian has entered a prolific creative period, steadily dropping quality music across a number of international channels and labels.

‘Nomad’ is a track that reflects that long and focused journey of musical knowledge and application. Kamae is a bonafide triple treat, he’s an engineer, live performer/musician and producer so our earbuds are treated to the accumulation of all this knowledge and skill. A lot of lo-fi producers have a traditional approach to making beats, gathering a selection of elect samples and often jamming them out with heavy compression to give that warm vibrant timbre that we all love. But having the kind of skillset that Sebastian has at his finger tips gives him the range to take lo-fi in a slightly different direction and allows him to explore and put his own mark on the sound. While the arrangement seems somewhat familiar, his production style is playful, creating a colourful calando which gives a richness to his work. His tracks seem that bit more polished because of his approach and careful attention to the most subtle of changes in dynamics. I can only imagine the samples of keys are his own as you can hear the emotion in how the keys are played and it gives the track some really uplifting moments. Kamae could saturate the track in a slick polished sound, but he doesn’t, there is still a stripped back, lo-fi feel with bursts of that dynamic range that offset each other beautifully. ‘Nomad’ is a solid release and a pleasure to listen to and I would urge you grab it on bandcamp and check out Sebastian’s other fine releases while you’re there!

More from Sebastian here:
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Feel good vibes with Young Citrus 'Sleeping In'

When you think of Los Angeles there are many things you can think of: Venice beach, boardwalks of beautiful people sipping designer caffeine looking on towards the hipster horizon of small boutique businesses to the lavish luxury of the Hollywood Hills. For me when I think of LA I think of 90’s skateboarding, watching the tidal wave of content that dominated the skateboarding world at the time, the west coast ruled in the 90’s not just in terms of skateboarding but in terms of hip-hop. Justin Nguyen aka Young Citrus is a young DJ and producer who grew up in Southern California who embodies all the traits of all of the above. A self professed skate rat and someone who describes himself as “Riding the concrete wave of art and music that is part of the lifestyle”. 

It’s easy to get the feeling from ‘Sleeping In’ as the track exudes a laid-back, boardwalk surfer style that is heavy in nostalgic turntablist samples laid over a playful bouncy bassline. Finally, a mellow jazzy guitar completes the overall feel good vibe of this solid lo-fi release. Nguyen has the power to make me feel like I am listening to summer in January and he leaves me longing for more. 

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Beat Bliss during Kurt Stewart's 'Rush Hour'

Kurt Stewart is no stranger to ADSR. He has been present amongst our blog on more than one occasion and the reason for that is quite simple, he produces solid hip-hop instrumentals, ‘Rush Hour’ like his works before is straight up looped bliss. 

‘Rush hour’ running at just over 2 mins puts some playful jazz piano front and centre and the result is a standard Stewart head nodder! Tight, crisp drums, muted double bass and high frequency hiss give the impression that you are listening to old dusty vinyl. This is what I love about Kurt’s productions is that they exude a kind of café cool that transports you to a place where you feel like you are lounging about sipping expresso smoking cigarettes casually taking in the noodling of the finest jazz artists of the day. Stewart always delivers breezy blissed out beats that are perfect to unwind to. 

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Lounging in lush lo-fi landscapes with Luvwn

Upon doing my research into Luvwn a.k.a. Christopher Kaasik a self described “ introverted art school dropout” hailing from Estonia, I found myself floating off into day dreams as his Spotify track list effortlessly transitioned from track to track. I found it hard to tare myself away as I was enjoying the space that Luvwn had created. According to Christopher “The whole idea behind luvwn is to share a new, unique world through music and art. I feel like sharing a whole world is more interesting than just expressing a story”. In this I feel like Kaasik has achieved his goal. The brand of hip-hop instrumentals he has created are highly ethereal, ponderous, reflective and soothing at times. Not only does Kaasik create a space where you feel ok to be still and contemplative he creates a world where you feel excited to explore with a gentle joy. 

The mainstay in a lot of Luvwn’s works are sampled jazz drums and keys. The samples are chosen with love and care and the combination of the loose percussion and placid piano create magical moments that for me are reminiscent of DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking ‘Endtroducing’, this is especially apparent on Luvwn’s ’to sleep’ and ‘planta lofi’. I feel however Christopher comes more into his own in ‘waking spell’ and combines more complex melodies harmonizing with a lush vocal that has the same effect as his earlier releases while simultaneously revealing the evolution of his sound. If you are a fan of instrumental lo-fi hip-hop then I can’t recommend Luvwn enough as he takes some of the best elements of the genre and makes them his own in the most exuberant fashion. 

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Smooth Sailing with Kurt Stewart's 'Cobblestone Bump'.

Everything about Kurt Stewart is unassuming. From his Spotify bio which simply reads “I love you” to the way he makes his beats. Especially ‘Cobblestone Bump’. We have reviewed Stewart’s releases in the past, most recently his soothing track ‘Laundry’. You can imagine Kurt up late nights crouched over his laptop with only the glow of the screen piercing the darkness as he drops into a state of flow becoming entranced by the latest sample that has grabbed his attention. 

Like in ‘Laundry’ you can see he is a producer that enjoys stretching out the possibilities of a one looped sample. Lovingly and playfully, dropping drums in and out and adding affects where he feels like it. The result is, as always, a well crafted instrumental that gives you a warm sense of nostalgia and chill. Stewart knows the value of his samples and he has a way of transcribing his passion for them that always leaves us wanting more.   

Catch more from Stewart here:
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Misc.Inc allows us to wistfully wander in 'Childish Dreams'

Dresden based Lo-Fi Hip-Hop producer Misc.inc revels in reverie in his latest release ‘Childish Dreams’. His bedim based beat is drenched in somber overtones as the leading sax sample causes us to be still and present by its effectiveness. Jazz has the power to draw us into the most venerable and fragile spaces within ourselves. There is something about the sound of brass being played with such gentle, poignant purpose that markets a magical state of melancholy.  Misc.inc is well aware of this as he gives the sample time to breath and be absorbed by the listener. A straight-up Lo-fi gem that sustains with a lasting repose. 

Catch more from Misc.inc here:

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Kurt Stewart has me dreaming of Laundry!

When Kurt Stewart described what was going through his head when he put “Laundry” together it said “ I made this beat looking out the window watching fall turn to winter.” And I think that is the perfect way to describe this seasonal, chilled out track.

Funny enough in the UK there is a laundry softening detergent named “Comfort”. Now it’s a simplistic name but a powerful one because that one word associated with fresh clothes invokes an image of something basic, something soothing. On a cold, blustery autumn day it’s nice to do things around the house, tidy up the living room, light a fire, make a cup of coffee maybe while listening to Kurt Stewarts new release because you know what? It has the same effect as all of the above. It comforts you, from the deep resonant bassline to the crackling background sound of vinyl, the crisp drums and the dreamy Rhodes chords. All of these elements bring you the auditory version of that feeling of fresh laundry, of a warm fire on a cold day, protected from the winds outside. Kurt has captured this feeling perfectly. The only thing I wish is that the run time was a bit longer. At 1:38, we get just a brief taste of this breezy, laid back world. Regardless, there’s no doubt that this is a solid Lo-Fi Hip-Hop gem for any playlist.

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