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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London's Sleepless finds his Flow state

Enigmatic Jazzy beat producer ‘Sleepless’ swings through the blog once again following up last years release of his album Serene.

And it’s no wonder he keeps popping up on countless blogs, channels and playlists; his sound, aesthetic and consistency in crafting infectious jazzy hip-hop is second to none.

His recent single ‘Flow State’ showcases his own unique take on the genre- forgoing sampling and chopping techniques for a dynamic take of entirely live instrumentation. ‘Flow State’ succinctly expresses that creative headspace that all artists aim to achieve, where logic and rationality give way to instinct and spontaneity. It’s one of those tracks that sounds almost as if it could have written itself, bringing with it an organic groove and natural connectedness of each musical element. But somewhere in between those smooth horns and cascading keys we know there’s a music producer steadily carving out his own air of effortlessness.

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Dualizm Proves that 'Cheap Whiskey' can still be Sweet

Our regular readers will recognize the name ‘Dualizm’ from our writeup about his release ‘An Ounce of Rain’ a couple months back. And there’s good reason his name keeps popping up. Crisp production, quality samples and a fleeting sense of nostalgia encircle his tracks like slowly drifting smoke rings.

The Berlin-based beatmaker has worked with an impressive lineup of both local and international artists and has written music for film and television productions. Which really all makes sense looking at the quality and quantity of his output, with new music coming out monthly it’s no wonder his tracks have a honed sound and effortless swing.

That unique sound can definitely be heard in today’s feature which Dualizm describes as “one of my most jazzy tracks.” “Cheap Whiskey” was actually supposed to be on his recent album ‘Project R. vol.3’ but feeling that it stood out from the bunch too much, he instead decided to release it as a single.

Whether you like it straight or on the rocks, single malt or blended, “Cheap Whiskey” is definitely the perfect smooth sipper to cap off a long day.

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Arabic Lofi beats from Jordan's - Zi7

We’re lucky to be able to feature some pretty unique sounds here on the blog, from producers crafting their own distinctive soundscapes to musicians presenting their honed creative output, the sheer amount of music coming out daily makes standing out from the crowd perhaps harder than ever.

Although putting forth some wholly original sounds may not come easy, for today’s guest it seems totally natural. Zi7 - زيح (pronounced ‘Zeeh’) is a Jordanian beatmaker focused on reviving traditional Arabic music through sampling. Combining elements of lofi beats, jazz and Middle Eastern sounds, Zi7 creates hazy beat collages with hints of Arabic nostalgia.

His recent release ‘Tamheedat: Volume I’ features 6 tracks of chopped up samples, saturated drums and traditional Arabic instruments. With most tracks under the 2 minute range, the tunes play as low slung sketches and the album as an effortless journey into the ancient sun-kissed landscape of the Middle East.

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Bmbu digs deep into the memory banks for '#throwback'

‘#throwback’, the latest album release from Philadelphia-based beatmaker Bmbu, takes us deep inside his MPC-shaped brain, to a vivid past full of memories, chopped, sampled, arranged into a set of beats, and polished with the same patina that accrues on your own fondest mementos from days past.

Bmbu samples artfully, from jazzy brass to solo piano, and evokes a distant idea with each track. The beats swing and swagger about, providing plenty of structure, but never bombastically enough to overshadow the rich musicality he conjures. It’s a pleasant environment to sink into, one that feels personal, and at the same time relatable. This is particularly evident on #snorlax, which you can stream above, and fall into your own nostalgia…

If you’re feeling Bmbu, you can find the full album on bandcamp, as well as a 12” vinyl release over on Vinyl Digital.

— review by autonomy

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Gone in a (green) flash with Phoenix's Phortran

It could be the hot desert climate of the state of Arizona, or the nearly 300 days of sun Phoenix experiences per year, but beat producer ‘phortran’ seems to have some hazy heat running through his veins. Originally taking his musical inspiration from experimental electronic music and idm, it wasn’t until he heard Hip Hop artists such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom in the 90s that his musical tastes started to shift. Artists like Madlib, Dilla and Nujabes further fuelled the budding beatmaker’s creative blueprint, and laid the foundation for which his modern productions rest on.

Taking a look at phortran’s Soundcloud it’s quickly apparent that this style and finesse didn’t happen overnight. With more than 70 tracks posted over the last 6 years it’s clear that he’s done his homework and steadily honed his sound. He has recently become involved with a local Phoenix-based collective called Brunch Collect and put out a split EP called "States Away" with fellow beat maker- jives. He is currently working on his next split release with Korey Wade and playing shows around Phoenix.

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Blink and you'll miss Instupendo's stunning winter elegy, 'Persona'

Modern music, especially electronic-based music, has a tendency to try to pull you in as soon as possible. This is of course not surprising, or even a bad thing, considering the incredible explosion of new music over the last decade or so, combined with the nascent expectation of instant gratification in our daily lives. But it certainly puts music that ignores this tendency on shaky ground — will compositional patience pay off, or will it end up devoured by the deluge of new music that presents itself to us every single day? For ‘Persona’, Instupendo doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

Instead of trying to lure you in, Persona creates its own emotional space, perfectly content in its own world. If you blink you’ll miss it, but if you approach it with care and attention, suddenly it’s impossible to ignore its delicate, detuned chords calling out to you. Winter is a season to slow down, and hopefully reflect thoughtfully on our lives. Instupendo, inspired by the season for this track, shows us why it’s worth it to do exactly that.

— review by autonomy


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London based hip-hop producer Big-O drops new album 'Instability'

We’re all looking for our own little slice of peace in this world aren’t we? American-born, London- based, hip-hop producer- Orlando Turner certainly thinks so. The first single ‘My place in this world’ from his recently dropped full length album ‘Instability’ explores his own definition of peace and the album as a whole touches on the larger concepts of belonging, uncertainty, and sense of purpose.

Turner has been making beats since the age of 13, and in a way the album explores his own personal journey having moved from Alabama to Florida and Miami to LA, before finally finding his niche in London.

The album features 16 tracks spanning a variety of sounds and production techniques. From the sample-heavy beats of ‘Imperfect Voyage’ to the built from scratch style of ‘Cryin’ Clouds’ the album covers everything from soulful hip-hop to jazzy beats and electronica to break heavy funk.

It’s a journey definitely worth documenting, and reminds us that despite life’s ups and downs and moments of instability, finding that sense of peace through music makes it all right in the end.

Support the album over on Bandcamp

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Keyboard virtuoso Rob Araujo with his new beat-oriented side project- Shopan

Being a marvel on the keys just isn’t enough for accomplished pianist Rob Araujo who’s continually pushing his creative boundaries with new sounds, styles and collaborations. Growing up studying classical piano from the age of 5, to playing competitively throughout middle and high school, it wasn’t until Rob reached University that his tastes shifted to include Jazz and hip-hop, eventually layering his productions with an effortless groove on top of his already strong technical foundation.

With the creation of his new side project ‘Shopan’, these beat-oriented productions will now have a dedicated output. Launching this laid back, lofi alias is the track ‘Greens’ alongside rising Portland producer ‘Quickly, Quickly’.

The track sees the beatscene sensibilities of Quickly seamlessly combined with the undeniable musicality of Araujo’s signature keys. Relaxed drums and percussion provide the framework for moments of jazzed-out sundown bliss.

Concluding with a kind of care-free weightlessness, chirping birds and a whistling stroll leaves us with a sense of new-found optimism to carry us through the week.

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Lush Lofi from Misc. Inc and Leavv

Based in Dresden, Germany Misc. Inc creates dreamy, chilled out soundscapes perfect for studying, reflecting or relaxing. Starting out making beats in 2012, the young producer took cues from some of his favourite lofi artists such as bsd.u, Tycho, and Jinsang. Now, 6 years later, Misc displays a complexity and confidence in his music well beyond his years. 

The Misc. Inc sound combines organic, soulful elements with crisp sound design and groove-infused, infectious beats. Never one to settle within a comfortable niche, Marc is always striving to improve his sound and broaden his horizons. This pursuit often leads him to new, exciting collaborations resulting in music that is more than the sum of its parts. 

His Oblivion EP is a great example of this collaborative approach. Joined by fellow countryman, Leavv, the 2-track release features dusty chords, soothing rhythms and organic atmospheres. 

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