Trip-Hop – Quantifier and Noi2er
I’ve decided to share a discussion I recently had with myself about trip-hop and a few artists who can be squeezed into this genre.
When I think of “trip-hop”, my mind conceives of downtempo beats, eclectic samples, (frequently) electronic sounds, jazz instruments, melancholy moods, hints of psychedelia, intimate space shared with another, or a few at most. It’s not party music, that’s for sure. But after-party music? Maybe. Late-night music? Definitely. But let’s avoid limiting it to the sunless hours. Trip-hop conveys sensations and feelings that can and should be conjured up at all hours of the day. Furthermore, the sheer variety under the umbrella of trip-hop ensures you can you find something to match your mood. Of course, you’ll have to do your own hunting, but maybe I can give you a head start.
As this is a netlabel magazine, I will ignore the more well-known acts. Instead, I’ll share some of the best trip-hop I’ve encountered on the internet. Interestingly, much of it comes from Poland. I don’t know what it is about that country that makes Polish artists want to produce these mellow tunes, but I’m glad they do.
The first on my short list is called Noi2er. His proper name is Michal Hnatiuk, and he’s recently released his debut album for Dusted Wax Kingdom, a seven-track EP titled “71, Trip In Six-Dimensional Spacetime”. At times, it feels like sitting on the edge of a vinyl as it rotates slowly around a record player. Through a sweet-smelling haze, we observe a dimly lit lounge with men and women draped over each other and atop long, low furniture. At others, the album feels like standing on the edge of the galaxy as it spins through the universe. Stars are born, die, and are re-born. Planets collide. Life emerges. One of my favorite characteristics of Noi2er is the live instrumentation employed throughout the album, most notably the upright bass, drums, and cymbals. He tops it off with captivating samples and pitch-perfect bleeps and drones.
The track I want to highlight is Arrival 10:31. A patient, ethereal track, it showcases the upright bass in ways so prominent and profound, it’s like I’ve never heard the instrument before.
The second on my list is Quantifier. I can’t find much information about him other than that he too is Polish and hails from Wrocław. His album Dark Streets skillfully balances notions of playful innocence against the gravity of more serious affairs. In one moment, we’re surrounded by people at a bar, at another we’re in a dark corner with a special someone. At still another moment, we’re walking off the late-night fog in our brains through the early-morning fog of the world around us. The track I find myself coming back to again and again is Old Gramophone. It’s filled with various and beautiful strings, the organ, the sax, enough feedback to sound aged, and enough soul to sound classic.
These albums exude a romantic almost forlorn quality, and are truly a pleasure to hear. My only desire is that you find them as deeply enjoyable as I do.
Noi2er – Arrival 10:31
Quantifier – Old Gramophone
Noi2er album release page
Quantifier BandCamp + Dark Street release page