Extending their reach from Australia into the international underground scene, local label SIDECHAINS have built a loyal following in the thriving Los Angeles beats scene. The community, filled with club kids and EDM heads alike, has been blossoming for a while now, made up of a supportive group of music lovers and producers. One of those producers is BK BEATS, a mysterious muso creating heavenly beats and lush club sounds. On his latest EP Memory/Paths, released on Sidechains, he channels the sounds of norclub, trap and grime into six crystalline tracks that stretch melodic loops to their clubby extremes.
Across the EP, bk beats uses ethereal pipes and chimes, sweet delicate sounds that are starkly offset with aggressive kicks and snappy hats in the percussion. These elements are lathered with reverb and echo, creating a huge soundscape that gives a density to the negative space around his effectively minimal composition. Each track explores the evolution of an ear worm of a melodic loop, with the tracks growing alongside or countering the loop's energy adding layers of rhythm and intricate harmony.
The first two tracks of the EP surprise with heavily syncopated percussion that is just as choppy as the melodies being deconstructed, with the flurry of kicks on 'Trinity' and the synchronous claps and melodic hits of 'Rust' firmly placing us in bk beat's world. Lush soundscapes reign on this EP but are total standouts on the ambient 'Drowning', littered with metallic samples and warped vocals, and 'Ashes' building off twisted horns and angelic sampling for an emotive trappy banger. But bk beats is at his best under a chugging beat, free to explore all the twisting melodies and niche samples he desires, contrasting gentle plucks of melody with dense bass on 'Tierno' and really marrying every element of the whole EP together on the opus 'Forest'. With whistling, grimey synths and licks of harp and piano, the whole world of Memory/Paths is fully realised under pixelated percussion and the polyphony of the heavenly synths.
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WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL