Review: Brenmar – Let’s Pretend

This year has been a non-stop affair for Bill Salas, the Brooklyn based artist who goes by the name Brenmar. With an EP apiece on Discobelle and Sinden’s Grizzly, a video of the much loved “Taking It Down” and an endless stream of peerless mixes – there was even time to contribute to a certain compilation. All of which point to the fact that he is seemingly unstoppable, to further this realisation the end of October will bring about another EP, but this time on Optimum and Ikonika’s Hum + Buzz. The EP itself has been a long time coming, with “Done (Don’t Luv Me No More)” appearing on our radar earlier in the year and “Let’s Pretend” creating the initial hype last month to contribute run up to the release.

Emblazoned with the famous Lakers’ colours of the gold and purple the EP cuts a sharp contrast to Salas’ actual loyalties to Chicago, which coincidentally highlights one aspect of Brenmar that elevates him above others: the very connection with his hometown and the importance he places on it. The infused elements of the contemporary Chicago musical landscape of Hip-Hop, R&B and Juke are evident throughout his work as DJ and producer as they find their way into the mainstay of his works with impeccable ease and justifiably so. In hindsight: giving his early Aaliyah remix the title of Chicago’s nickname “Windy City” provides a window into this connection. Yet, as he has developed the strength and reliance on his own talent has grown exponentially giving unique flavour to define his own sounds. Lining all his music with a vibrant flamboyance that slides from track to track, whether in a mix or in his productions.

The “Let’s Pretend” EP is no exception. Brenmar opens with the title track and fills it with a pain that only R&B is capable of and meshes it with his club sensibilities, hints of melancholy develop and manifest themselves within the melody, which ultimately sets the tone for the rest of the record as it is filled with off-kilter emotions. The second track “Temperature Rising” effectively does what the title outlines. Building a sultry air which is irresistible through-out. The momentum of this track is not to be underestimated, it moves at great pace propelled by some fine production. The penultimate track and the last of Brenmar’s is “Done (Don’t Luv Me No More)” which outlines everything there is to love about him, perfectly utilised vocal sample coupled with empowering synths just raise the atmosphere anywhere it’s played. The tracks rolls and jumps unpredictably, filling it with an untold excitement. The remixing duties are left to DJ MikeQ as he manages to capture that essence and plug the remix with it entirely, taking a firmer structure in terms of rhythm/beats and laying the focus fully on the vocals to create the hyphy sign-off.

HBR004 ‘Let’s Pretend EP’ by Brenmar (Preview, out 31st October 2011) by Hum + Buzz