The well-respected Cult Classic Records netlabel has brought another piece of auditory gold to my ears. RunC.T, aka Rodric Horton, a self-proclaimed “beat junkie/record collector,” has crafted a beautifully simple and brief beat tape which bears the name Baroque.
For those unfamiliar with art history, “baroque” refers to a movement of art (painting, architecture, music, and everything in-between) dominated by direct and often-embellished beauty. Check out the below image for an example of visual art in the baroque style. Music in particular was dominated by innovation and complexity. The artist veers away from this somewhat, but we’ll come back to that.
RunC.T’s channels the directness of baroque in his emphasis of live piano. Almost every track contains piano in some form or another, usually a clear melody, sometimes looped or manipulated, yet never muddled or obscure. His beats are no different. Clean snares, sharp hi-hats, and pronounced kick drums provide structure to the tracks. Embellishment comes with the details. Tiny chimes, like in the track “Etiquette”, ring out adding an extra dimension to the track. In “Light (CCR Edit)” we’re treated with what I believe are slides, or “glissandos” on the piano. “Solstice” incorporates flutes and guitars. One of the more the outstanding tracks – “Where Can You Be” – starts innocently enough, like a cool, jazzy evening, before turning things up a notch with a high-pitching sound effect with branching, complementary electronic effects.
Where the artist diverges from the the baroque movement is in the relative simplicity of the album. Where baroque music was often flourished, Baroque is reserved, even understated. I feel I should point out that doesn’t mean anything is lost with this album. The plain reality is you can expect this album to provide 26 minutes of crisp, hip-hop elegance.
RunC.T – “Etiquette”
RunC.T – “Where Can You Be”