If there’s one thing that comes through about Mr Beatnick’s productions, it’s the sheer musicality of it. It’s been a slow and steady ride getting to know the artist, not least on this most recent trio of Synthetes releases for Don’t Be Afraid which have crawled out one a year and culminate in this latest EP. With very little else to listen to in between times, it actually makes for a nice change being able to sit back and reflect on the select tracks that have made it out into the public consciousness, compared to the whirlwind release schedule many labels and artists seem to embrace.
It’s a notion that ties into the aforementioned musicality of Mr Beatnick’s tracks, valuing a more meaningful emotional expression and response that isn’t constantly deferring to dance floor needs and compatibility with peers. Let’s not get too waylaid though; this is still dance music.
The snappy drive of “Savannah” is a perfectly constructed house track with a steady lead in for ease of mixing, smartly balanced dynamic range and crystal clear production. It’s just that these qualities have not been the first and last consideration in the track, as is evident from the spread of synths deployed to intone an emotive message. Rather than having a few key sounds that work throughout the track, there are curious diversions and interludes which break up the main groove, purposefully avoiding getting too tracky and keeping things warm and entertaining.
This heartfelt approach is demonstrated more explicitly on the following track “Symbiosis” through an arresting combination of synths and a quite simply gorgeous set of string refrains that combine to shame the glut of identikit deep house attempts getting churned out on a daily basis. Overflowing with rainy-day poignancy and yet still perfectly chiselled for the floor, it’s a track that stands resolutely on
its own without trying self-consciously to be ‘different’.
If anything, the uniqueness of Beatnick’s tracks is easy to miss at first. The warm and approachable melodies and crisp drums sit in your ear drums so naturally it’s easy to pass them off as somewhat standard. Admittedly “Parallax Scroll” does share similarities with some more pedestrian counterparts such as the 90s piano chords, whilst the inclusion of a jungle break in a house track is in danger of becoming a little overplayed at the moment. However once these familiarities are looked past, the track still shimmers with a haunting refinement; the kind of graceful production that can turn a rave horn into a forlorn cry into the night.
Reassuring any personal niggling doubts from the previous track, “Blue Dream” rounds off the EP with a sumptuous broken beat excursion into subaqueous electro that simply builds on that fearsome display of musical prowess with a captivating array of interlocking melodic elements. It’s perhaps the song that makes Mr Beatnick’s talents most apparent, not to mention leaving you thirsting for more of a music that satisfies so instantaneously whilst holding something back for repeated listens as well.
B1. Parallax Scroll
B2. Blue Dream