Sometimes, hip-hop is served with trimmed edges, a fresh polish, poise, and the mandatory pinch of rebelliousness. That isn’t the hip-hop we’re looking for; we crave the most broken of beats, the blasé sampled cuts, the slapstick nature of the boom-bap phenomenon. This Sunday, the musical machinations of Kushu will be providing our mid-flight meal as this self-described brewer of “stoner music” keeps us steady lifted and hazy-eyed.
Poking through the vale of the ever anomalous lo-fi community, Kushu finds the elusive musical “pocket” with tremendous ease on a track-to-track basis. The signature rhythm of fingers smacking onto the pads of a sampling controller are as pervasive as the effervescent overtones of his chosen melodies. Filling the air with too many cuts often yields a plate too full, and leaving too much open space in a composition can dither the major points of tension and release with the arrangement of a song. Kushu finds the comparable middle ground, spicing up the air with the right pinches of hollow synth leads and classic piano flutters. From the words chosen in his sampled lyrics, to the particular methods of dusting and bit crushing put to use on his tracks, there is a distinct, unique flavor that permeates from the surface of his music straight into your eardrums.
If combining ambient palettes with the familiar head nod is your motive, then Kushu should be your first destination for your lo-fi needs. Like most of his contemporaries, he has a quick turnaround time on the release of productions, and it shouldn’t be beyond reason to expect fresh cuts from Kushu in the near future. His most recent release, the Songs of the Islands EP, is a choice entry point to dive into his vivacious brand of gunslinger beats, but what justice is done if you don’t dive into the whole catalog?