Born of LA but rapidly expanding their reach outwards, the Futures Collective come exactly as advertised. Armed with a heightened sense of emotional awareness, their production software of choice, a healthy dose of talent and, of course, a strong wi-fi signal, the youthful roster of Futures artists is growing, both in numbers and exposure. The crew was originally formed by Eaves, Zack Sekoff and, one half of duo Party Time, Rick Farin with the purpose of throwing parties (as is often the case in these situations), but the next logical step was to start putting out records under the Collectives name. Since the first showcase tape dropped we’ve been treated to increasingly accomplished EP’s from Eaves, Female and Beshken. The newest release, Futures Vol. 2, is made up of 11 tracks worth of emotionally saturated, electronic genre-spanning fare featuring a few previous Truants favourites and a few sure-fire future ones too.
The task of setting the tone is given to Eaves and before you even press play, the signals are there. A heavy hissing is draped over the entirety of “Lonely” while the contemplative melodies pulse in and out , reminiscent of a lo-fi “Colour and Movement” by Ryan Hemsworth. Not too long ago we recommended Karman‘s Forever EP to you and pronounced “Karman is sadboys-does-dance”. That most certainly holds up here. “Engraved” is an assault on the senses, panning percussion left to right at breakneck speeds. It’s not all rough and tumble though, and there are some much-needed moments of contemplation where the drums rescind and an ever chopped and changed vocal is allowed to shine through.
Also previously featured here at Truants is Munno (whose excellent Truancy Volume you should check out here). “Thanks” is a continuation of his prior work in the sincere and heartfelt, embodying the thoughtful use and manipulation of samples that comes across throughout the compilation. Next up is Zack Sekoff, who already has a few impressive credits to his name, including providing the foundations for Thundercat’s “Lotus and the Jondy“. Built upon a strictly synthetic, borderline techno drum machine loop, “Electric Nights” is perfect cruising music. A big S/O should also go to Zack for his use of the “kick out the jams” sample from MC5’s track of the same name, which is certainly one of the highlights of the tape.
Stream: Zack Sekoff – Electric Nights (Futures Collective)
It’s fair to say that ASL Singles Club share a similar aesthetic with that of the Futures Collective and so it would make sense that a little bit of artist borrowing should take place here. 8prn (working in cohorts with Heartbeat(s)) was responsible for the debut release on that label and here presents “69 Guns”, a paranoiac, bass heavy, sci-fi leaning jam. Rook Milo‘s offering is almost certainly the jewel in the crown of this compilation. While the majority of tracks here present their emotional value through an unfocused, fuzzy lens (please note: not a bad thing), “Cobalt Polo” is crystal clear and glistening in it’s outpouring. The yearning is heartbreakingly palpable. If you can find it within yourself to listen to one more track featuring that sample from “The Boy Is Mine”, we’d urge you to make it this one. It’ll be worth it. We promise.
Stream: Rook Milo – Cobalt Polo (Futures Collective)
The second half of this tape is equally as impressive as the first. Beshken’s “Sutro’s Tower” is an ode to the beat scene that LA is stereotypically known for. It riffs on an exotic thumb piano and invites you to ascend the eponymous San Fran landmark and gaze out across the landscape. Falls‘ remix of “Read U” by Patchley, originally released as part of Purr Tapes’ summer 2013 compilation, leaves the vocal relatively untouched, transforming the rigid euphoria of the original into a much more melancholic, shuffling housey number. “Fountain”, Pharaoh‘s offering to the tape, is somewhat jarring to begin with, laying down a broken beat while pulsing synths prepare you for the scattering footwork drop to come. However, once you pick up the trace of the piano and the exquisite chord progression on show, the fit becomes clear. Svengali, also responsible for the compilation artwork, proves himself to be talented on both fronts, using pitched-down vocals to create the atmosphere in his slow jam, “Icgyl”. Last but not least, “Windows” by Kurt makes no apologies for displaying its video game influences for all to see, using a bassline straight from your favourite 8-bit platformer. It’s a stunning end to the compilation and one that brings us back full circle to a satisfying end.
Stream: Pharaoh – Fountain (Futures Collective)
While each young producer showcases a high level of talent on their own track, this is a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. It’s notably impressive how each track can tug on the heart strings in a different way, despite traversing numerous, vastly different genres. The emotional synergy carries through from beginning to end and makes this a particularly affecting 40 minutes of music. Comparisons with another LA-based collective, We Did It, aren’t particularly appropriate to make sonically, but there’s nothing to suggest that we couldn’t see similar levels of success for the members of the Futures Collective.
Futures Vol. 2 is available now, both digitally and (somewhat ironically) on cassette. Cop here.