Title: A Day In A City
Release Date: 2015 Jan 29
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Dusted Wax Kingdom / Phonophanatic
deeB’s Day In A City kicks off 2015 with a chilled take on downtempo, blending samples and beats with tingling melodies perfect for a midnight walk through a city, blanketed in snow or otherwise.
deeB: A Day In A City
Dusted Wax Kingdom is a netlabel powerhouse of sorts; seemingly able to put forth release after release without faltering in the slightest. deeB’s newest EP finds slick electronic rhythms paired with detuned strings, pianos, and wobbly synth lines. The classic downtempo formula is executed perfectly, and brings about grooves that worm their way straight to the center of your brain. It’s not about how much energy is present, but how the energy is used and where it brings the listener as it shimmers through towers of glass, metal, and concrete.
The EP opens with two wonderfully produced tracks. “Intro” is peppered with scratched speech samples, sounding optimistic and ominous all at the same time, strings that reflect against themselves in front of a steady drum line; a lone horn melody caps it all off. “Morning Rituals” calls to the routine of the average city-dweller, gently broken beats propelling footsteps down the streets in search of a cup of coffee and light breakfast before the day has even begun. “Pop Up Horizon” is what it feels like after the java really kicks in, though, with its heavy, saturated low end and whimsical guitar line. The day really begins at the third track on this release, but deeB has no problem getting things started the right way.
Though it may be a stretch, I would happily state that this is a progressive EP. The tracks don’t exactly mesh as if they were created to do so with regards to intros and outros, but as a whole the music has a very keen sense of direction (which is necessary if you’ve ever seen a subway map of New York City or some other giant metroplex). Tracks 4-6 have a more somber tone to them, and make me think of a MHTRTC-era Boards of Canada. Indeed, the beat on “The Wrong Part of Town” coupled with the minor-note melodies could be mistaken for a dropped cut from one of the Old Tunes tapes. That’s not to say that deeB intended to bite the style of BoC; the layered strings further along in the track would indicate just the opposite. The EP’s final two tracks return to the slightly lighter tone set with the leading songs, but given musical context seem far more reflective, the soundtrack for unwinding with a decent book and some tea at the end of a day in the city.
There are a wide array of artists who are currently battling for their slice of the atmospheric trip hop circle, and deeB’s effort on this EP shines brighter than most. If you’re looking for funky hooks, beats broken in all the right places, and basslines that could make a rampaging Sumatran tiger relax for a bit, this is the record you want in your collection.