Restored 29 March 2017, original 07 April 2015
I listen to a lot of underground hip-hop and trip-hop. This should come as no surprise to our regular readers as we shine the Netlabelism spotlight on many of them. These artists are all quite skilled, and I greatly enjoy and appreciate their music, as I hope you do. Despite all of this skill and greatness, sometimes we as listeners want something different, something that leaves the bounds of “hip-hop” or “trip-hop” in a different direction. A surprising EP I found recently in my inbox from The French Touch Connection – a Parisian netlabel extraordinaire for underground trip hop and indie artists – does just that.
Spectateur is a French producer who just dropped his latest EP Tiphareth (Hebrew for “glory”). It’s a five track EP spanning nearly 18 minutes. The first couple of tracks (“Empathie” and “Green Sugar”) prove the EP has all the hallmarks of great hip-hop/trip-hop – solid beats, varied instrumentation, choice samples, chill vibes – but it steps beyond those standards and does so with confidence.
The third track “Curves” starts slowly, with incoherent samples, distant percussion, and piano keys. Before long, a host of string and wind instruments makes itself heard, as though gearing up for a melodic explosion. The bass is strong, and a twangy guitar shreds alongside us before it fades out, but it returns in fine fashion. Backed by strings and percussion, the guitar’s energy builds and builds to the end of the track.
The final two tracks “Infini” and “Tiphareth” make a similar mark. The first part of each track is calm, cool, and collected, but the second part takes all that cool energy and turns up the heat, making for a frenetic, fast-paced finale. “Tiphareth” specifically reminds me of Fuck Buttons’ album Tarot Sport with its guitars dripping with feedback and ferocious progression.
Tiphareth is a low-to-high energy EP with five great tracks and is easily deserving of at least a listen.
Spectateur – “Curves”
Tiphareth download page