Available on: Futuristica Music 7″

On the latest release from Futuristica Music, London-based producer Mr. Beatnick offers a distinctly retro take on beat making.

Eschewing the peg-legged, lurching rhythms that have become a significant trend, if not quite the unquantized orthodoxy in current instrumental hip hop, the swirling, eastern-sounding intro of ‘The 4th Day’ segues into a thick, rolling groove. A powerful, Endroducing-era break drives pretty, Quincey Jones-esque flutes, plangent piano stabs and an orchestral swell sampled (if I’m not mistaken), from Mahavishnu Orchestra’s ‘Planetary Citizen’. On ‘Fallin’ Apples’, Beatnick deploys naturalistic drum timbres and sampled acoustic instrumentation: piano, vibrophone, recorder and saxophone adding texture, melodic substance, and an unabashed emotional hook to the track’s undulating post-dubstep bass drop.

The record as a whole feels far closer in spirit to the sepia-tinted, psychedelic classicism of crate-digging Los Angeleno nutjob Gaslamp Killer than the synthetic, hypercoloured creations of British producers such as Rustie or Joker. ‘The 4th Day’ and ‘Fallin’ Apples’ are a gentle listen in comparison with some of the claustrophobic digital excess that characterises the work of many contemporary beat makers. Dazzlingly original these tracks are not, but at the start of 2010 they’re sounding pretty fresh to me.

Colin McKean



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