Recommended: Rules – Free

The D.C. producer sprang Rules up late in 2012 with a self-released, eponymously titled EP, attached with it the sort of experimental, alt-R&B pastiche that that particular year perhaps began to see too much of at the time of release. From looking at SoundCloud statistics, EP cut “I’m Patient” provided the biggest splash for Rules on the net since his project’s inception, and was a convincing conduit of the aforementioned style—a sound that speaks more to a certain time and less of a place, but one that continues to reappear if only without the same sense of novelty. Rules’ penchant for bluesy tones, then-virtuosic vocal pitch manipulation and spare drum programming would seem only ephemeral looking at the bigger picture, what with new showings of tracks like “Free” and the announcement of an EP with cuts of (assumedly) similar style.

Stream: Rules – I’mPatient

Freed up from Rules’ vault as a demo, “Free” represents a marked change in the producer’s MO. If it’s not a complete directional pivot, the track seems to at least indicate a change in musical pace—including tempo, which is realized most clearly in the final third. Beginning with bare percussion components and slow, pummeling kicks, one would be quick to equate it with Rule’s understated preceding material (which, besides the EP, only amounts to a couple remixes) but things take a turn for the atypical when a magnificent lead riff takes hold. However the producer went about getting the sound, it’s undeniably predominant in the mix, and paired with the sampled refrain “I do believe that I can break free” becomes this uplifting wake-up call to existence, really. “Free” even rolls through a short episode of deft footwork, if collective interests weren’t piqued enough about the upcoming DEMOCUTS01 from Rules.

Stream: Rules – Free 

Words By: Michael Scala