As observers of American label cum curatorial servicer Apothecary Compositions, it’s not at all surprising how we once again are presented with work from a producer who inhabits a junction of disparate modes. While being a “jack of all trades” may or may not be a promising qualification for some artists in this day, and Cearà could have been equally at home on other labels (Hyperboloid and Mixpak come to mind), the quality of C Plus Plus’s debut should be recognized in as many locales as there are regional influences found in it, and the album is a proper way to kick off another year of variable Compositions. Apparently, the real-named Dylan Howe has retired the a i r s p o r t s moniker—with which he used to present experiments in lo-fi, internet-wave miscellany up until early last year—and now justifies an apparent interest in grime, Baltimore club, and dembow rhythms with the conviction of a cagey veteran.
A facet of C Plus Plus’s production, on this album at least, that might seem at odds with a presumingly tropical vibe—the photograph featured on the cover is assumedly of a piece of coastline of the Brazilian state after which the project’s named—is the working-in of field recordings and off-kilter sounds. Check out the natural, nocturnal underlay on the grimey opener, which isn’t especially conflicting in case; the titular instances of brashness on “Shatter”. What ultimately comes to make the album remarkable and cohesive as a whole despite an array of palettes and rhythms between each track is the Portlandian’s way of casting a less-than-hedonistic shadow on what is more often than not a sonic emulation of the tropical vis-à-vis exuberance and native patois fetishism. Inventiveness is abound. “Swimsuit Clique” and “Gunshot Riddim” both drive, the former on a lighter vibe with B-more-esque WHAT interjections (there are HEYs on “No Lights”), the latter weightier. More straight-away than the rest, “Karaiba” is something we’d hear from the 1080p catalogue, with its daydream tones and layers of tangible abrasion. Ironically then, but certainly not out of the ordinary as a frequent collaborator, Karmelloz (Source Localization) assists on the deranged and seesawing “Cnidaria” and the following “Mystère Riddim”.
Cearà is out now on cassette via Apothecary Compositions.