Imagine a mashup of concepts instead of beatmatching, one that is produced with the idea of vintage music manifested through modern ears. Oakland producer David Reep is doing just that. Only, instead of a top 40 hip hop track colliding with a classic rock anthem, he digs for slick pop/ obscure vintage vinyl, manipulates it beyond recognition and introduces beat samples. The result is a blissed out trip down memory lane with the vibes of Forest Swords’ take on R&B, a Detroit Deep House aesthetic, and the mechanics of Flying Lotus. There is also a sound reminiscent of The Caretaker if he didn’t spook it out by recording it all at The Overlook Hotel. What is most striking to me is that his style reminds me of [[[VVRSSNN]]], an album by Adam forkner (White Rainbow, Yume Bitsu).
I think I’m most fascinated with the pace of this recording. Its all bathed in ambient sounds but there is such a groove that it could convince those who don’t ordinarily go for that sort of thing. Each track is 90-130 bpm and clocks in between three and four minutes in length. Its all introspective and simultaneously danceable, as if an Acid / Mushroom Jazz / Ninja Tune artist from the 90′s suddenly became current and didn’t sound the least bit dated. And don’t worry about the lo-fi Boards of Canada worship generica. That is nowhere to be found. There are so many influences tastefully paid homage to here. Bossa, Fripp & Eno, Derrick May, Northern Soul and Bay Area Hip Hop circa ’97 are delicately woven together, creating an absolutely gorgeous pastiche that is impressing me more and more each time I listen.
His moniker is nearly as interesting to me. Elephant & Castle represents many different things; a North American restaurant chain, a road intersection in central London and even a gun store in southwest Missouri. The reason I note this is because the artist himself is quite the traveler, having spent time in London as a youth, going to high school in Houston, Texas and settling down in Oakland after moving to California for college.
Elephant & Castle is refreshing, and its an extremely impressive solo project. Reep is a masterful producer. I’m very excited to hear more.
Transitions is out March 27 on Plug Research.