Tag Archives: nujabes

Slam Skillet’s “Rachis” EP

slam skillet rachis

With hip-hop vocal samples and snare/hi-hat rolls aplenty, 20-year old Slam Skillet‘s “Rachis” EP seems to check all the pre-requisites of today’s electronic music production. Yet unlike most music by basement beatmakers, the first track, “Yukon,” begins with a bird-song sample that soon becomes a mainstay of this decidedly avian record. Olivier Messiaen he ain’t, but evolutionary biology major Slam Skillet – also known as Sam Stevens – has found unlikely Ableton inspiration in the outdoors.

“Yukon” continues with a filter sweep that brings in some rhythmic horn jabs and a heavily processed rap hook. With subtle but banging basslines and several funky synths used, the EP gives nod to Com Truise and the more dancefloor-ready sounds of Grenier. “Gemsbok/Chamois” stands out for its laidback Nujabes vibe, credited to the cabasa sound that keep the track shuffling along.

Stevens’ skill is in his ability to joyfully weave common and unexpected elements into a beat that makes you want to sit back, bob your head and watch the world go by. This is music made for headphones and spring days – so start vibing.

Nujabes’ “Luv (sic) Part 5 (feat. Shing02)”

Luv sic nujabes

When Seba Jun, or the hip-hop producer better known as Nujabes, died in February 2009, he left behind unfinished work. Last year at about this time, his label, Hydeout Productions, dropped the bulk of that in the form of the posthumous Spiritual State, a release that celebrated the life of their prodigal son and seemed a fitting close to Jun’s life. But if Spiritual State was the ultimate chapter to Jun’s work, his “Luv (sic) Part 5 (feat. Shing02)” is the epilogue.

Released earlier this month by Hydeout, “Part 5” is the final portion of Nujabes and rapper Shing02’s collaboration, the first portion of which debuted in 2002. A decade later, that Luv (sic) partnership is closed, with a release far more somber than its four predecessors. Over a wistful piano and soul-wrenching beats, Shing02 (Shingo Annen) slices straight to the point: “Til’ death do us apart, and it did/ Come sudden like clouds, and it hid my sun.”

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Nujabe’s Spiritual State

In 2005 classic, Wedding Crashers, Will Ferrell as the charming Chazz Reinhold, utters a classic line to protegé John Beckwith (played by Owen Wilson). “Grief is nature’s most powerful aphrodisiac,” he says to a wide-eyed Wilson, before shuffling out a newly widowed stunner and screaming at his mother for meatloaf, fuck!”

While its role in the real life funeral crashing success rate is unclear, death can be a record label’s Cialis. What better way to revive a career ended too soon than by exploiting a delicate time of remembrance, packaging “intimate, never-before-heard” (correction: unfinished) demos and slapping it together with some tear-jerking album art? Sure, it can be successful (Tupac, who currently resides somewhere in Cuba, can attest to that). More often than not, it’s disappointing. And usually, the record company’s scheming album for revenue recovery is shit (one shudders at remembering the King of Pop, for the posthumous Michael, or John Lennon for Milk And Honey).

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