Review: Mr Beatnick – Synthetes

It’s quite unusual to hear a dance track off with on-beat strings and muffled voices, but Mr Beatnick isn’t your average producer. Ostensibly a UK hip-hop producer, his latest EP, ‘Synthetes’, takes him into the world of slow-mo disco house. The title track of the release, which dropped on vinyl last month and digital this week, does exactly what I described above, quickly shifting the strings from a single repeated note to a up-down three-note repeated pattern. A minute in we have a bassline of which Floating Points would be proud, which hangs around for the rest of the track as the percussion builds and builds – what once was just a simple bass kick shifts from nowhere into a percussion line that screams 90s funky house – in a good way. Searing melodies join the strings and jazzy synths are thrown into the mix. It all blends perfectly, the wide range of sounds complementing each other beautifully.

‘Don’t Walk Away From My Love’ shimmers with metallic voices and vocal wails, again in a 90s vein. Maybe it’s just me hearing that vibe, but I love it either way. You can hear the crackle of vinyl and the tension of underlying melodies. The track is also filled with synthetic strings that are completely at odds with those used in the previous track, but that just adds to the breadth of vision at work. The track rounds off with some vicious claps and ominous Goblin-esque twangs, not to mention the simple not-quite arpeggiated theme that runs throughout. It’s a recurring style that these tracks are loaded with sounds and styles but manage not to sound cluttered or to frenetic.

‘Casio Romance’ isn’t what you might expect from the title, it really feels like it could be the epitome of this slow-mo house movement – it’s simply dripping in funk. The drums are New York disco, the bass is heavy, the filtered theme is warm and lazy. There’s a heavily effected sax, a hint of a trumpet. The muted vocals, “gimme what you want, gimme what you need”, aren’t the most original lyrics of 2k11, but when a track is this funky who gives a damn about a vocal sample?

The package is completed by a gorgeous remix of ‘Synthetes’ by Architeq, building on the beautiful strings of the original and adding a live drumming session that reminds me of Four Tet’s ‘Love Cry’, as well as squelchy acid bassline that could jar, but, fitting in with the overall aesthetic, is a perfect counterpoint to the aforementioned strings and drums. That is before it goes all electro disco at its end. Keeping you on your toes all day. Cop the digital here.

Synthetes – ripped off BBC Radio 1 Gilles Peterson show by mrbeatnick

Don’t Walk Away From My Love (clip) by mrbeatnick

Casio Romance (original mix) by mrbeatnick

Aidan Hanratty

Dublin ...

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