Boukas - The Coffee Tape Vol. 1

The talented and abstract beatmaker Boukas returns with his second full-length release, The Coffee Tape Vol. 1 which comes as per usual through NINETOFIVE Worldwide Beatmakers. Boukas aka Dennis Boukas of Stockholm, Sweden has been working on these compositions throughout the autumn. This is reflected in the album’s jazzy motif and sparse compositions, which swing in the breeze like gangly trees removed of their leaves.

The album is dedicated to that bitter, comforting, dark drink that can be a beatmaker’s best friend. The Coffee Tape is less transcendental than Boukas’ full-length debut The Setting, and thus more appropriate for everyday listening. On this last album as well as the EP A Song for Samantha, Boukas demonstrates his ability to fuse dub with beats music - a rare and prolific combination. This overt stylistic combo is absent on The Coffee Tape. While that’s not what some might expect from Boukas, he executes the straight-forward boom-bap beat with effortless grace, making for a head-turning change of pace.

With a placid stereo spread and a soft and simple bouquet of instrumental samples, The Coffee Tape is not just “appropriate” but ideal for everyday listening. Indeed, each track on the album is representative of a different cup of coffee throughout the day from “The First One” to “The Last One” to “Afterwork”. “Basically, there’s always time for a coffee break”, writes Dennis. We couldn’t agree more, but with twelve beats total on this record, we think Boukas may in fact need a water break.

According to Dennis, he always tries to paint pictures with his music. His paining style, then, is minimal and his hand is steady. His color palette is limited in its variety, but the colors he does paint with across The Coffee Tape - beige, brown, yellow, off-white, light orange, deepest green - are rich in hue. His percussion always pops, but set against such a sparse background here, the muffled kicks and crisp, cut-off snares stand out all the more.

Perhaps the most abstract cut on The Coffee Tape is our favorite; “Metropolis”. Tying back to the album’s theme, this song may be representative of perhaps not a single cup of joe, but rather the broad association between coffee and the cosmopolitan. Lightly plucked guitar strings stir together as if in liquid with a synthesizer melody that sounds like it’s played not by fingers but by a feather. The tune exemplifies a meditative stillness that Boukas cultivates on this album. One will be hard-pressed to find a series of twelve instrumentals more relaxing than these jazz-infused cafe beats.

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