Restored 05 April 2017, originally published 29 March 2015
Cult Classic Records has dug up another gem. Russian producer Katano Beats, at a mere 18 years of age, has been producing music since he was 11 years old. His beat tape The Collection is composed of 11 tracks from his previous releases, about half of which remix lyrical songs from other artists while the other half are composed of solid beats and soaring jazz instruments.
In addition to a couple of Russian tracks I can’t identify, Katano Beats incorporates lines from Radiohead’s “Nude” into his track “Sad”, from Maroon 5’s “This Love” into his track “Lucky”, from the track “Tears” by Headstrong featuring Stine Grove, and from indie rock group Warpaint’s track “Stars”. Whatever energy these tracks possess on their own, Katano Beats infuses it with his own special brand of downtempo.
Perhaps my favorite of these is “Lucky”. When I first heard the track, I knew I recognized the lyrics and the general structure of the song, but I hadn’t listened to Maroon 5 since the 2000s so I had to ask someone to be sure it was really them. Ultimately, it all came back to me, and I was able to appreciate this new take on “This Love”. The track opens with a simple beat, and when the pieces from “This Love” come in, the vocals are pitched up, the tempo is slowed down, and the rock instrumentation is replaced by a serene keyboard and chimes, all backed by the beat and a shaker. Finally, the track is transformed from an energetic, outspoken declaration to a mellow, introspective consideration.
The purely instrumental tracks (which I’m sure incorporate samples from older songs) are brilliant in their simplicity. “Daylight”, for example, starts crackly with a piano and other string instruments, like we’re listening to an old record player. Then the the beat comes in strong and assertive, followed shortly by a fierce saxophone that carries on for the remainder of the track.
“Heart” emphasizes what I believe to be the clarinet. In addition to an accompanying keyboard, the clarinet is backed by another solid beat replete with kick drums, snares and hi-hats. As the track progresses, the clarinet is complemented by a synthetic orchestra for a while until it drops out, leaving drums, keyboard, clarinet to round things out.
The man behind Katano Beats has said he designed this collection to be an example of what he’s capable of and a sign of things to come. If what we hear on The Collection is any indication, we’re in store for chilled out magic. Stay tuned!
Katano Beats – “Lucky”
Katano Beats – “Daylight”
The Collection purchase page at Cult Classic Records