Fresh from the UK is Oli Brand, aka Beaka, who is releasing his debut self-titled EP on the influential Montréal-based label, Infinite Machine (IM022). Brand has a lot to deliver in a surprisingly hearty 25 minute EP, and fans of UK-Bass and house music can appreciate the creativity and production brought to the scene by this promising producer.
The bass influence is initially rather subtle in this song, emanating as the rhythm fluctuates in tone and texture. The overlapping textures seem to wash over the bass rhythm periodically, alternating as the bass rhythm periodically ascends and descends in pitch. The rhythm grows in complexity as a vocal sample is added, echoing in the midst of a steady and very strong house/bass rhythm.
The main bass rhythm changes while the clean rhythm is submerged in atmospheric noise, almost rising in pressure. The altered bass rhythm closes out to return to the main theme. The rhythm is very driving, and even if the rhythm isn’t “fast”, it packs a ton of energy for a house/bass influenced track.
The opening rhythm is very deep and atmospheric ambiances along with lighter and cleaner rhythms reverberate to serve as a counterpoint. A light electronic melody descends before the rhythm becomes more clearly defined. The rhythm sounds like a dubstep song, but is muddled with the persistent, minimalist and texture-heavy bass. A deep vocal sample is included to enrich the melody; before a cleaner and higher pitched electronic phrase enters and echoes in and out of the deep bass rhythms. That lighter electronic phrase was unexpected and it was very pleasant to hear.
The bass rhythms get very deep and distorted as a clean and new electronic melody enters in syncopation to counterpoint the deep bass rhythm. The cleaner rhythms drop off as the syncopation continues, but not for long until the bass rhythms are reunited with the cleaner, dubstep-influenced rhythms. The rhythm takes longer pauses towards the end of the track before first light electronic melody returns to close “Killjoy”.
“Subconscious” opens with a relatively simple bass rhythm accompanied by more complex and deliberate rhythms. This rhythm is particularly nice because it sounds as if it’s ending its phrase with very soft and subtle synth tones. The synth alone seems to have taken influence from the likes of Mount Kimbie or perhaps Maths Time Joy. Brand is very deliberate in his rhythms and they work very well when deliberately deciding which rhythms and which tones reverberate in the song.
A female vocal sample periodically surfaces before a very delightful synth harmony kicks in. Brand plays around with the bass rhythms, allowing them to reverberate in the synth’s harmony. The harmony is very reminiscent of Maths Time Joy’s “Hideaway” EP. The bass rhythm remains as it’s submerged in an atmospheric ambiance, though it exists very minimally and is deliberately placed within the song.
The final track starts with a soft and introspective harmony, before Brand begins to carefully layer his rhythms as they begin to grow in complexity and substance. The harmony remains as the main rhythm asserts control of the track. The rhythm is particularly complex in “Timelapse”, carefully employing elements of bass and UK-Garage.
The rhythm seems to work in phrases too, allowing for atmosphere and texture to take the lead in certain points in the track, before the rhythm returns to dominate the overall mood and theme of the track. One of the best features of the texture is a clean and possibly reverberating synth that works very well as a counterpoint to the diminished bass rhythm.
Beaka’s self-titled debut EP is nothing to underestimate. Brand employs very impressive production skills and is able to deliberately craft exquisite and meaningful rhythms while very tastefully employing texture to counterbalance those rhythms. This is a very smart EP with driven and sincere production. Brand is very lucky to debut such a great EP to a deserving label like Infinite Machine. Beaka has a bright and promising future as a musician signed to Infinite Machine.