Dust Collectors - Seasonal Sounds 5: Fall

Each season has its unique, universally familiar vibrations. There’s an atmosphere within and around people, a strange phenomena of feeling that comes about when the senses of a season - its sounds, smells, temperatures and patterns of light - combine within the individual. There’s certain music that corresponds in the ear of the beholder with any atmosphere. That is to say that each season has its rhythms. And one could suggest that few rhythms synchronize so well with Autumn than the wispy, sepia-tone, melancholic movement of lo-fi beats music.

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In its curation efforts Dust Collectors is true to its name. Based in Boston, Massachusetts and distributing worldwide, the label has been releasing for just over one year but their growth and development has been rapid, as the tracklist on this compilation attests to. Some labels specialize in the spacey, some in the especially trashy or avant garde. Others go for a classic sound, and more, like the leaders at Chillhop Music strive for the cleanest, most rehearsed, if you will, presentation of beats. That’s no disrespect, of course. If anything is true, it’s that everyone enjoys different vibes, and audiences vary even within niche musical communities. Although it truly has a bit of all these sounds, their new compilation Seasonal Sounds 5 helps establish the Dust Collectors in the realm of the rough hewn, in-the-pocket, dusty shuffling sound. They aim at and strike this specific nerve in the beats world.

Side B of this compilaiton is a journey. Cinematic horns open the curtain but they’re soon distorted and pitched out. Suddenly a shuffle steps into the silence. Guitar and key samples dangle over a subtle but strong head-nod made for New York City sidewalks. Then comes a cut from New Jersey’s own slr (“sailor”), who has been releasing a ton of beats again in the past few months. B3 finds Stan Forbee of Melbourne, Australia offering “whistle tune”,one of our favorites from Seasonal Sounds 5. His work with the keys, a sort of rhodes-y sound, is his calling card, and he can deftly arrange multiple melodies to great emotional effect. There’s Flitz&Suppe from Cologne, Germany, cut from a more classical cloth and emphasizing clarity and straightforward note relationships. This is followed by a joint from the Grammy-award winner Cookin’ Soul out of Spain then a spin from Danish feels master Axian.

The back end of the compilation opens sup pace for experimentation. Here one finds another stand out rhythm, this one from Bretsil & Soft Eyes. Bret aka Bretsil is one of multiple managers of the Dust Collectors. His work ethic and enthusiasm are inspiring. Before he even receives your Facebook message, the “responding” icon appears. Video chatting with Bret, he mentions that he “used to make electro music that was really bad”. He’s moved by ambient work, especially that of Brian Eno, and these experimental and electronic influences are apparent on “blues”. For a moment, it’s as if one has stepped back in time from the online world of beats into the scenic sonic codex of a Boards of Canada record. This is meditative trip hop that helps the mind bring itself to a single, still point. The beauty of Seasonal Sounds 5, though, is that just a minute later the listener gets hit with a joint from Juma, a whirlwind of brass and vaudeville bounce with a soulful melody and big boisterous bass drum. This 180-degree turn pulls the listener out of Samadhi and back to pounding the pavement.

It’s surprising and encouraging that a label with the size and relative clout of Dust Collectors can assemble so much talent on four tape sides. Pulling together the time and talents of any grouping of musicians is a worthy achievement. DC should be commended for curating music from strong names so intentionally in a musical community that can seem homogeneous if seen from afar or even at mid-range.

But once experienced from within, this community appears as a diverse, dynamic and constantly evolving deal. There are trends and movements, associations between artists, organizations and patrons that drive forward certain sounds and ideas to the short shrift of others. So much of it, of course, takes place online and at a distance. To curate a compilation, to stand at the center of that, outstretch imaginary limbs in invitation and proposal, and then reap a bountiful harvest of excellent music is, in a word, magical. It’s also a phenomena or approach that’s unique to the 21st Century so far. Or if not unique to it, the curation process can certainly manifest with more flexibility and dynamism nowadays after the explosion of digital music. It appears the Dust Collectors will continue to leverage these circumstances to create gem releases for beat heads everywhere.

The more spins this compilation gets, the more magic and beauty leap from in between its kicks and snares. Somehow each tune is a downtempo banger, the sort of song that’s placid, smooth, even wistful, yet it brings on a tangible high energy, a hope and excitement for a new season.

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Side A
1. Dweeb - oolong
2. Leo The Kid - Elder Flower
3. Flughand - Fogu
4. Graves - Arc
5. Keem the Cipher - hindsight
6. Oxela - dustoiche
7. Burnt Grapes - Beat Coat
8. Kuranes - night.stroll
9. Radicule. - morning dew
10. HM Surf - rito
11. Linanthem - home
12. Nimzo - Stars
13. Memory - Time // Change

Side B
1. Loop.holes - Oh Mama
2. slr - curb
3. Stan Forebee - Whistle Tune
4. Goosetaf - Smokin Chimneys
5. Yimello - waves
6. Flitz&Suppe - nothing to do
7. Cookin Soul - That Flame
8. Axian - Drive
9. Cheeki - doze
10. Leaf Beach - White Sage
11. Soho - Carolina

Side C
1. G Mills x Aimless - Bubble
2. DeeB - And...Retain
3. kckflp - raw
4. stxn.x - castor & poluxxx
5. Made in M - Frape
6. Fushou - Plummet
7. Knowmadic - sometimes it matters
8. Druid - darker nights
9. Misc.Inc - Agena
10. tkdwn. - one step
11. ideism - orbit

Side D
1. Smuv - Indigo
2. moffen - without a care 
3. b0nds - full moons
4. smeyeul. x speechless - dust
5. bretsil x softeyez - blues
6. Ka$tro - The Moon Rises
7. Juma - Ms. Paynt
8. Sleepdealer - Polaroid
9. Elaquent - Go Figure