Swap Meet Volume One.

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The best news about this short tape is there’s more volumes coming; LA’s Proximal Records continue to release some of California’s most daring new electronic music; and on SMV1 label co-founder Sahy Uhns has collaborated with fellow electro and Hip Hop afficionado Wake to create a scatter-gun approach to beat tape creation that crackles with an electricity that sparks brightly, burns away within the beginnings of each new emerging composition, then pops off again on the next track. The tape is split relatively equally between the two producers, and arranged so that their individual sounds compliment each other. Check out these Two disparate songs; both run consecutively on the album’s tracklist, and are by the Two producers respectively, and they still manage to compliment each other and share the same creative space without clashing. It’s this dynamic that makes SMV1 as exciting as it is.

Both producers are upbeat and slightly ADHD in their rapid use of sections and sounds, leading the tracks away from the restriction of full song composition and into a more chilled way of presenting them, almost as audio sketches. These brief bursts of sound work well to keep the listener’s attention; itself no small feat in today’s culture of instant gratification. Since albums like Donuts and the Beat Konducta series people are realising that 4 minute beats aren’t as exciting for the regular Hip Hop fan as they are to someone who’s been on their knees in bargain bins all day diggin’ or scrawling their thoughts at 2000mph in a tattered pad. The relaxed approach that comes out in their sound makes each new track a fresh prospect, and keeps you guessing by not adhering to any specific musical conventions. 

The creative re-shaping of sound is why sampling has always been an art form that fails or prevails on the individual creativity of the producer; both men have taken familiar territory and mangled it into unrecognisable new forms; so even songs that seem relatively standard as part of today’s instrumental Hip Hop panorama like Daysmith and Busta still lead the tape towards more exploratory environments.  Sahy Uhn’s stumbling, stuttering electro jazz on Fucked Up Dag provides one of the tape’s more oddball moments, but there’s a lot of smoothness to be feasted upon in his relaxed swinging remake of the Commodores Say Yeah, his mellow vocal flip on Monserattrap, and the more epic, upbeat solid rap styles on  Coffee & Cheebz. 

Wake’s tracks take in a range of sound, then contort them and spit them back out onto an amorphous canvas. His futuristic take on the simplicity of pattern-based programming on The Prism is short and sweet. Synths (No Piano) gets funky with the percussion yet remains challenging in its brevity and blaring use of synth at the end. Stretch is a dirty electronic waltz that wouldn’t be out of place in a sleazy, crudely drawn animated series; and his take on the female-vocal sample on Funny Hip-Hop doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously as he plays with repetition and short chops. Hornys is one of his only tracks that really calls for an MC, imagine a KRS verse over those dramatic stabs of sound and you’ll see what I mean. 

Like the ability to appreciate anything fully in life, you’ll find the tape’s jewels in it’s flaws. It’s not over-polished, it doesn’t sound like 9th Wonder or Khrysis like a lot of American instrumentals at the moment, and it’s not ‘quirky’ for the sake of it. Both producers know the genre and are avoiding imitation and cliché to their advantage. Horns and crooners are dope and have been a staple since James Brown started this shit; but if no-ones pushing the envelope we’re not guna get to the real heights this universal music could  reach; hopefully with every new Swap Meet release we’ll scale a little higher.

Get it for whatever price you feel over at their Bandcamp

3/5.

Peace.

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