“Are you one of those so-called badasses?” As soon as that line rings in the ear, it’s entirely understood just what kind of producer we’re dealing with. Rio Major, the broken-beat project of Jonathan Eklund, is a crash course in beatsmithing and sample stitching. Eklund is by no means a stranger to musical prowess, nor is he freshly hitting the pavement. Through his all-encompassing platform Mindful Vibrations Audio, Johnathan pours the wealth of his production and composition knowledge through multiple musical projects. Being a multi-faceted musician is a strength without equal for discerning producers, and Rio Major displays a compositional understanding that begs to be heard and explored.
The overall production and arrangement style of Rio Major puts an original spin on a classic interpretation of instrumental hip-hop. The potbellied fullness of each track is a testament to his ability to fill up the frequency spectrum while simultaneously honing in on the dusted and muddled tones so familiar to lo-fi music. Not but a few weeks ago, Johnathan released Systematic, a ten track album that serves as an ideal representation of the Rio Major catalog. Built upon precision cuts of instrumentation and smoothly processed vocal lines, the record knocks your head back and forth like a wooden drinking bird. Each track gradually expands on the jovial mood present throughout the record, starting strong and ending stronger.
In world where so many of our lo-fi brothers and sisters are confined to the title of “bedroom producer”, it is incredibly refreshing to find Johnathan Eklund constantly pushing his musical explorations through the open medium of Mindful Vibrations Audio. Running through his various projects, it becomes clear that Rio Major is just 1 piece to a larger musical puzzle. If you find yourself in a blissful mood after approaching Johnathan’s ongoing lo-fi saga, diving straight into the rest of his discography is sure to keep you indefinitely elevated.