If you paid any attention to our 61st Truancy Volume earlier this year from Kid Smpl, you may recall a short, fleeting track stuck in between Burial and Jhene Aiko by one Javier Escareno. The stuttering hi-hats and hushed keys lasted for but a minute, but the whole Truants crew immediately wondered when we’d hear more from this mystery producer. A Soundcloud search turned up a page full of old demos but nothing like what we’d heard. Twitter gave us a nearly hyperactive account that made us ask: how this person had any time to make music? Asking Kid Smpl himself only yielded a “yeah, you should pay attention to that guy.” If only we actually had. It’s been nearly two months since Seattle’s Hush Hush Records released 20 of the 20 year-old producers’ sketches as Beat Tape #1 under the pseudonym j.Faraday. Think it’s safe to say we slept on this one.
On first listen, Escareno’s more beat-driven sounds might seem like an odd release for a label that’s mostly focused on the atmospheric side of electronic music. But with each passing track it becomes more apparent that Beat Tape #1 is full of atmosphere, just maybe not what we’re used to. Escareno’s atmosphere is blown out, trunk rattling bass, hi-hats skating in every which direction and vocal samples, lots of strange vocal samples. Did we mention vocal samples? One of the tapes more memorable moments comes on closing track ‘Home’ where a Bon Iver sample gets whirled through a blender on pulse yet still retains all the chunks of emotion of the original.
For a tape with just one track breaching the two-minute mark and the whole thing clocking in at less than 35 minutes, its cohesion is astounding. That is no doubt thanks to Escareno’s sampling technique which serves as a great foundation, but his careful ear for rhythm is the glue that holds it all together. “Grave” sees the Houston-based producer toying with percussive polyrhythms in true hometown fashion. Delicately layered keys get just the right amount of shine on “Keep it” and the Weeknd gets a little blender treatment of his own on “Don’t Fall in Love.”
Over the course of the tape, it’s hard to listen to the Weeknd and Bon Iver getting turned on their heads and not recall Clams Casino and his Imogen Heap-sampling productions. There’s no doubt about it, Escareno is one of a number of bedroom producers who have been influenced by Clammy Clams anything goes sampling technique. Judging by what Clams has done in the just less than two years since we interviewed him, it makes us excited for what the future could hold for Escareno. Does anyone know anyone that might need some beats?
Stream: j.Faraday – Don’t Need U (Hush Hush)
j.Faraday’s Beat Tape #1 is available now from Hush Hush Records’ Bandcamp page as a name-your-price download.