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

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.

Cheers
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Evän drops lofi gems with "Dernière" singles

Spanish up and coming beatmaker ‘Evän’ just dropped a fresh collection of chilled out soundscapes for you to float off to. "Dernière" singles is a collection of 8 lofi jams that feature crunchy drums, dusty samples and drifting melodies. With most tracks around the 2 minute mark, the collection of singles serve as a good introduction to the laid back sounds of the budding beatmaker.

The opening track ‘eternal’ sets the vibe with looping vocals, saturated drums and a dreamy flute. The tracks proceed with a kind of natural fluency, meanwhile there’s still a strong feeling of narrative. The phone message near the end of the track ‘camelia’ flows well, while giving a feeling of warmth in this chilled out world that Evän has crafted. Keep your eyes peeled for the full "Dernière" album coming May 24th.

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Dualizm offers classic instrumental bliss in 'An Ounce Of Rain'

Dualizm is a german producer based in Berlin who over the last few years has been busy galvanizing beats for a number of artists in the underground hip-hop scene. Recently he decided it was high time he put out some of his own material and we have had the pleasure of reviewing his latest release ‘An Ounce of Rain’ from his Project R Vol. 2 EP which is out now on various platforms (available below).


Heavily built on nostalgia, intentional or not, ‘An Ounce of Rain’ feels like a nod to the golden age of late 90’s hip-hop. Even with it’s short running time of 2mins 45s the track still feels fully realized because of the steady progression. Starting off with some somber Rhodes that creates a pensive head space while also managing to be dream like. There are plenty of atmospheric soundscapes that float like air and drizzle like rain which keep you engaged in the tracks groove until your attention is drawn towards the uplifting, hopeful piano hook that elevates the mood. ‘An Ounce of Rain’ embodies all the classical elements of instrumental hip-hop, telling you a story through expression and nuance. I only wish the track ran a bit longer because I feel like there was potential for a lot more exploration but I guess its not always a bad thing to be left wanting more, which is the very much the case in Dualizm latest release. 

Find more from Dualizm here:
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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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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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Winter Chill with Kurt Stewart's 'brrr!'

Winter on the east coast of America and Canada brings with it a few guarantees: short days, cold temps and regular dustings of snow. But this sub-zero hibernation isn’t all bad as Vermont- based beatmaker ‘Kurt Stewart’ shows with recent track- brrr! Although the name incites a whole body chill experienced only when your older brother shoves a handful of snow down your snowsuit, the sound of the track itself is actually quite warm and toasty. With a vintage croon to open the beat, the track bumps along with warm sense of nostalgia as the thumping kick drum drives everything forward. Although just over a minute long, brrr! gives us that brief moment of respite before heading back out into the bitter elements.

Happy winter from Kurt Stewart!
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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. 

Catch more from Young Citrus here:
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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. 

Catch more of Luvwn here:
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