I don’t know if chillwave or bedroom-pop are still dirty words on the blogosphere but it’s really hard to care when Zoo Brother’s newest EP is this blissfully good. Taking a page from TV Girl, Zoo Brother works with short bursts of sampled joy to construct his beats and layers his vocals over the beats for hypnotizingly gorgeous effect. ”Psychic Whatever” speeds up a carnival medley for an off-kilter and dreamy romp that stretches beyond the 4-minute mark. On tracks like “Dreamwalking” and “If I Could (You Would Know)”, Zoo Brother demonstrate that they have evolved to become more than just the bedroom project of William Karmish. While many bedroom projects suffer when making the leap to the live stage, Gemini Girl shows off how ready Zoo Brother are. They’re definitely more than just another TV Girl (seriously, what happened to TV Girl anyway?).
Ever since I first listened to Tuamie I’ve been hoping that a properly skilled rapper would take on one of his perfect loops. Luckily the wait is over as one of our favorite rapper’s decided to spit over a jazzy loop on “Thousand Arrows”. This is two gods coming together and “Thousand Arrows” is appropriately awesome. Over the nonstop movement of Tuamie’s beat Kal delivers a lyrically dense and disorienting verse. Where “Paranoid” was a tuned and perfected version of Kal’s space-gazing flow, “Thousand Arrows” is Kal with his eyes forward cruising as fast as he can. No matter what gear he’s in he doesn’t stumble.
Since I slept on his last EP, deadweight.sheep, I thought it best that I didn’t let his newest release “Law of Attraction” slip through the cracks (even if my post is still a few days post release). It’s finals season and while I let our email become overrun with unread submissions I’m just happy to have some nice new instrumentals to listen to. These aren’t just any instrumentals though. This is Lanzo, the homie from Young Ho Collective. Lanzo’s beats on this tape are definitely old-school and boom-bap oriented yet they never feel stale or played out (which seriously means a lot for beat music in 2013). Tracks like “pro.lifik” are practically begging for a competent MC while also managing to be entertaining in their own right. Things tend to blend together during finals week so it’s nice to have something like this.
Last night we went into the city to chill with the homie Sean Cullen (SEENMR) at a Snack pop-up shop with The Good Company. Cullen was playing a relaxed DJ set and we managed to catch up on new happenings in his life since our interview earlier this year. Despite leading a self-described double life as a skater for Snack and the founding member of the Young Ho Collective, Cullen is diving head first into life as a musician. Cullen doesn’t just want to be successful, he genuinely wants to move people with his music. ”Shipwrecked” may be the most effecting piece of music he’s put out yet. Although he expressed doubts that his first foray into singing on his own material was successful, “Shipwrecked” is made by Cullen’s surprisingly strong vocal performance and lyricism. Over a simple yet moving Velvet Underground loop, Cullen delivers four lines about his life and world view that reveal a lot more than most people can in entire songs.
Remember how the math of god is in place and there is nothing we can do (or would do anyway) to prevent the impending Young Ho revolution? Well, let’s not give all the credit to god. Having barely taken a rest from releasing his stunning Chinatown Tape, SEENMR has continued to refine and impress with his newest release “Infinite Mind Power”. Like the most stunning tracks on Chinatown Tape, “Infinite Mind Power” settles into a natural progression and repetition that invokes cycles of nature instead of an electronic loop. It’s challenging, soothing and life-affirming all at once. We’re sorry but not really all that sorry that Young Ho is taking over The Up-Turn.
It’s not everyday that we run across an artist like Sean Cullen, the dude behind SEENMR and founding member of the Young Ho Collective. Sean Cullen is so psyched on music, life and his crew that his personality beams through his recordings and has made his Chinatown Tape one of the most buzz-worthy beat tapes of the year. I had a chance to chat with SEENMR and the bulk of that conversation has been formated for your reading pleasure after the jump. Being the cool dude that he is, Sean also threw together an awesome mix that I highly recommend you listen to while reading this philosophic conversation. Get ready for the Young Ho revolution.
A few weeks ago, we featured a beatie from Yung Ho Collective member SEENMR in our Eat Your Beaties Vol. 16. Dubbed “Spliff Simpson’s Return”, the track was an instant standout among the tracks we’ve featured this year and defined an interesting style that SEENMR was heading towards. For his Chinatown Tape, SEENMR recorded a collection of beats using samples collected from his friends vinyls as well as some “ancient techniques”. Whether or not it’s because of these ancient techniques, all of SEENMR’s compositions build up their own world with references to temples, Brahman, snake charmers etc. that don’t sound like mere hipster novelty. Instead of just looping, SEENMR’s beats ebb and flow in a natural progression that is absorbed in adherence to ritualist repetition and hymnal patience. While many of our favorite beats offer instant enjoyment, SEENMR’s best moments come from asking us to wait. Stream my favorite tracks below and the entire tape after the jump.