Beatmaking is undoubtedly an art. As such it is composed of many styles, each with its own nuances. On his new EP A Song for Samantha Dennis Boukas of Stockholm, Sweden, or just Boukas when he's on the beat, showcases his own style - a delightful hybrid of dub and J Dilla influence peppered with a pinch of jazz. Boukas released this project with NINETOFIVE Records, which exclusively releases some of the finest contemporary hip-hop production this side of the galaxy.
The kick and snare work on this EP is as crisp and well-sampled as anything we've heard, the strongest example being the percussion in the title track. "A Song for Samantha" matches a jumpy beat with a lilting, melancholic piano melody for an emotionally ambiguous vibe. This vibe encases the entire release truly, but it's most pronounced here on the title track. The shimmering guitar sample and light wash of cymbals in the background fill out the composition with great color.
"Astral Traveling" may be our favorite cut from the release, with subtle synthesizers indeed invoking a sort of interstellar daydream. The bassline is so firm yet unpronounced, yielding center stage to the whizzing and washing miscellany of electronic timbres.
The influence of dub, which Dennis cites as a major influence, is most evident on "Shape of Things" and "I Have Been Here Before". Boukas effortlessly weaves the echoing soundscape, drawling pace, and earthy percussion of dub music into a more traditional lo-fi hip hop beat, creating something novel and refreshing. It's almost as if two beats are being put forth simultaneously - almost. On "Shape of Things" there's a bit less boom bap and a bit more tom and rimshot work in the vein of dub. The percussion is masterfully sampled, resonating across a layer of jazzy ride cymbals and punctuated by a mercurial trumpet sample.
While the archetypal boom-bap will never fade away, beatmakers like Boukas grab our ear and satiate our spirit when they build on that boom bap and generate fresh vibes. Boukas has a full, "raw" beat tape coming soon via Worldwide Beatmakers, so stay chooned.
Check out Boukas at NINETOFIVE Records HERE