As the sun finally beats down on England and the days reach their longest of the year it’s high time we had some music to go with the weather and Damien Beebe, or Day as he is better known, delivers with one of the freshest and summeriest records of the year.
Land of 1000 Chances is a wonderful collection of instrumentals crammed with catchy melodies and soulful vocal samples effortlessly blending jazz and downtempo grooves to give that classic hip-hop vibe. It’s cut and paste nature moves it along at a steady pace, shifting continuously but never out of character, diverse yes but also tastefully mixed.
The idea for all of this was to go back to my roots and encapsulate the last few years of what was going on in my life. I needed to get away from the clean, over-produced music I was making that had slowly put me in a creative corner cover the last 5 years. I was stuck. It’s not in me to make electronic music (I suck at it to be honest) and I didn’t want to re-hash the cut and paste stuff I had done before, so what the fuck do I do now? I go back. Back to the first album I ever made in a bedroom in Palm Springs with an EPS, my cousins drum kit and some records. I had to get back to where I came from in order to harness where I was now. Fuck layering and smothering songs to oblivion. These needed to breathe. Keep it intentionally sparse and simple. It had to be about creating a vibe and sticking to it. Not throwing in a random dance cut or having it cluttered with guests. It had to be honest and real. Somewhere along the way, I ended up drinking way too much, traveling and hanging out way too much and on the precipice of divorce. They say write what you know, so I did. – Day
It may not be that adventurous, nor entirely unique, but it’s undoubtedly well crafted and that’s all we ask for in a record like this. Suitable for driving with the windows down soaking up those summer vibes, or laying on a warm beach with a beer this record suits the sunny season no end.
Grab Land of 1000 Chances over on Day’s bandcamp page.
I Used To Be, Chris Stolz’s second album under the TiredEyes monicker, was one of my favourite and most played records of last year. Its jazzy beats and laid back feel made for fantastic summer listening with some infectious melodies that really stuck. Dusty analogue vibes, warm production and an unhurried pace set a bar that any musician would be hardpressed to top. And so, just over one year on, Constellations arrives in time for the last month or two of warm weather (here in the UK anyway).
Where I Used To Be arrived with a shot of energy on title track I Used To Be, Constellations takes a subtler route and opts to build slowly with the smokey Cosmic Echoes. It’s lazy, considered, and thoroughly cinematic. And this is what sets Constellations apart from debut There in the Shade and last years I Used To Be. It’s that experience from three albums under one project. A confidence and swagger that can only become apparent after the foundations have been laid and then tested.
Tracks build, vocal samples tease, beats reverberate; crackles, hissing and pops layer onto a wide selection of instruments. It’s a pleasure to listen to and if stuck with, will reveal a surprising level of detail that a quick listen might mask. The latter half of the album really shines with tracks like Nylon Trees and Stay Inside being stunning examples of what Stolz can do, the latter containing a great sample from Peggy Lees Johnny Guitar. It’s moody, sweeping and cinematic.
So how does Constellations stack up to I Used To Be? It effectively continues right where its predecessor left off, in fact it wouldn’t sound out of place if it were a side two – just a slower and more confident side two. That’s not to it’s detriment though, Constellations is still a superb record through and through and familiarity is as much as a good thing as a bad thing. Change for changes sake is not always a good thing and this is a perfect example when you’ve hit a great formula not to mess with it too much. As above, what is there however is a far more polished experience; further refined, cinematic and confident. Stolz’s beats sound just as organic, his sampling tighter and the details finer. This is what makes TiredEyes stand out from a large number of the other beatmakers at the moment, fine detailing. It’s exciting to put a pair of headphones and come out so rewarded and Constellations does not disappoint.
Constellations is available for download from TiredEyes bandcamp page for $10 (USD)
Tracklisting is as follows,
- Blast Off (00:51)
- Cosmic Echoes (03:26)
- Orbital (03:10)
- Golden (02:09)
- Pain (03:01)
- Imagery (01:48)
- Maydrum (01:53)
- Move Like This (02:41)
- Run Free (02:32)
- Such A Sky (01:36)
- Lean Back (02:27)
- Sit By The Door (02:56)
- Empty Chamber (01:15)
- We’re Not Home (01:49)
- Mellow Breeze (02:08)
- Space Bass (03:53)
- Nylon Trees (02:51)
- Stay Inside (03:31)
- Obedient Workers (01:54)
I spend quite a bit of time on bandcamp trawling through the countless albums and eps picking out the artwork that displays some excellent design or something with a creative name and then checking out the music that follows. It’s a fantastic way to find artists if you’re willing to put the time in and listen to some questionable music along the way. This will be a series of posts for 2012 I’ll be writing most weeks of the year, essentially when something interesting crops up. So, for the first of 52 I present you with this weeks find, Question.
What drew me to Question was actually bandcamps Gallery page which is a selection of artists whose design is worth you looking at essentially. He’s got a superb header on there and nice set of album artworks and that’s reason enough to have a closer look in my book.
So what’s the music like? Well, Question’s bandcamp bio goes like this “This Southern California beatsmith has been spinning hiphop since the early 90’s. His production style is a mixture of obscure jazz samples, heavy beats, and live orchestration. Question’s music can be defined as an interpretation of a timeless era, purely fueled by Jazz & Soul.” and this is exactly what you get, only it’s incredibly well made.
I started with the free downloads of Interludes & Interpretations and Re-Deux before purchasing the full length Standard Translation. All follow the same template, great straight up beats combined with a wide collection of obscure jazz. This plays to it’s benefit and where the music really excels is in this collection of the samples, all interesting and consistant throughout. It’s got the dusty analogue feel down to a tee complimented with warm production and speaking of consistency that’s pretty much where Question is elevated above his peers. His work flows incredibly well and is all of a superb standard, there’s no throwaway tracks or gimicky moments and for this I thoroughly recommend the above collections. There’s no frills here, it’s just straight up, well made, jazzy instrumental hip hop and that’s a good thing. It’ll be in my playlist for a while to come.