There seems to be a certain bit of ambiguity with genre names, especially in the world of electronic music. What happens when you have a producer who is equally influenced by the likes of hip hop as they are electronic music? While current trends have us believing this sound is called trap, but not everything in this electronic/hip hop hybrid is made for the dance floor and polluted with snare rolls and “Damn son, where’d you find this?” It’s not surprising that hip hop and electronic music have become bedfellows seeing as both essentially came into existence as music created by DJs. When Frankie Knuckles and The Belleville Three created house and techno respectively, they probably never assumed their sound would fuse with the New York born hip hop shaped by Kool Herc. British producer Bambooman shows us that immaculate mix of both by delivering an EP of chilled out hip hop with surprisingly rich textures.
On Bambooman’s Hollowed EP on Sonic Router Records we see this infatuation with two seemingly different genres play out. While the drum patterns are very distinctly hip hop in nature, provoking a head nod to the slowed down beat. The thing that makes this EP stand out so far from everything else is the textural element. Songs like “Stacks” and “Irish Moss” deliver a very mesmerizing image sonically. In particular some very liquid textures in “Irish Moss” are reminiscent of Balam Acab’s Wander/Wonder. Bambooman is very great at taking your mind on a ride and does an excellent job of creating a whole world in front of you using just a sonic soundscape.
Even without the rough and tumble textures, tracks like “Frost” and “Hollowed” use great work with synthesizers that seem to float above your hear. These synthesizers aren’t misguided though, as everything seems to have it’s place in the mix. Particularly on title track “Hollowed” every sound has it’s place, with no range in the frequency spectrum overpowered or out of place. The ringing bells seem to battle the stabs of the synthesizer, but in the end everything compliments each other in an amazing way.
The EP is bookended by a pair of remixes, on by Zack Christ and the other by Eckoclick. Zach Christ’s remix of “Irish Moss” is more percussively driven than the original and falls into the same vein as the rest of the album and gives probably the most uptempo hip hop moment of the EP without sacrificing the sources eerie textures. The Eckoclick remix of “Sun” on the other hand takes us more towards the dancefloor albeit a still chilled out hazy one. Again retaining the liquid textures and driving clicks the propelled the source forward it adds a thumping four on the floor rhythmic pattern that will get anyone dancing.
Sonic Router has always been known to deliver on weird hybrids of genres with releases from Torus and Hav Lyfe in the past. Leeds based Bambooman continues this tradition by releasing one of the year’s richest and most rewarding experimentation in hip hop and electronic music.