Sunday, January 29, 2017

Paul White - Everything You've Forgotten Review

Listen & Download Everything You've Forgotten.

Two years ago, not only would the name Paul White be unknown to me, the generic-as-hell UK moniker wouldn't have made me interested. Then, Abstract funny man Open Mike Eagle came around with that man's name attached to his latest LP. A collaboration album between rapper and producer, Hella Personal Film Festival quickly turned into one of my favorites from last year. "This White guy's got a nice sound," I'd say to myself, as the lush array of instruments coasted beneath OME with ease. Little did I know, that wasn't his sound, that was a sound. A few months later Danny Brown would release Atrocity Exhibition, my second favorite album of the year, and a monumental leap for the artist himself and Abstract Hip-Hop as a whole. Sonically, it was candidly creative, breaking down barriers with a slew of outlandish beats that had never been conjured before. At the helm was, you guessed it, Paul White. Ten of the 15 songs were his, including such immaculate hits like 'Ain't It Funny,' 'When It Rain,' and 'Dance In The Water.' Almost instantaneously, White shot up my radar to become the best working producer in today's age. Everything You've Forgotten, a free beat tape for all to hear, only reaffirms my firmly-held beliefs.

For those unaccustomed to Paul White's style, a group I'd even throw myself in, Everything You've Forgotten is exactly what you need. Labelled a beat tape, the project is as such, spending no more than thirty minutes of your time, flying through 19 different tracks. The purpose of all beat tapes is to act as a business card, quickly running through the musician's wide range of talents, failing to spend too much time on any. For Everything, this is a damaging double-edged sword. On one end, it's a breeze to get through, a whirlwind of sounds, styles, and colors that'll never leave you inattentive. On the other end though, some of these selections are so good I feel tormented in knowing a minute's all I get. If these are beats delegated to a free Bandcamp drop, I can't even fathom what the masterful producer has saved for more prominent releases. Don't feel as if these are hand-me-downs though, far from it. Everything actually rides a loose concept, centered around samples from the film Sing Street, in which the lead struggles to find his musical personality. The film, the tape's title, and White's own particularity help to facilitate Everything beyond typical beat tape status.

From start to finish, White's latest effort is a colorful barrage of music, all taken from different, eccentric perspectives. Despite the fact that this is a beat tape, something heavily labelled as Instrumental Hip-Hop, the journey the piece takes makes that simple classification obsolete. Besides, if this really is Instrumental Hip-Hop beats throughout, its only shown has far the genre has come. That's not to say a few aren't safe bets. 'The Futurist,' 'Bowling Stations,' and 'Duck Calls' are all clear beats, maneuvered around simple loops till them come to a halt. They're also wonderful, varied as all hell, with the former setting the mood with a trippy, mechanical beat that sounds plucked from El-P's catalogue, the middle almost MF DOOM-like silliness, and the latter featuring street kookiness a la White's own work with Danny Brown. That last one's an easy call because the rapper appears on the track itself, repeating a bridge that matches the rapid tone of 'Duck Calls' succinctly. While there's beats laced all over this tape, with other intoxicating listens found on 'Mouth Harp Mahem,' 'Soloman,' and 'Today's World,' Everything also finds joy in pieces that work effortlessly on their own.

Typically, these tracks are ones in which vocal samples are present. White's unorthodox style of producing allows for a widened array of influence, all of which can clearly be seen here. At times, Everything seems fully enamored with Sound Collage, Neo-Psychedelia, or even Plunderphonics. While there's a few sticky slip-ups where the voices become tedious or irritable ('Heeeyyyy' is the biggest offender in this regard), the bulk of abnormalities are pleasant to the ear. The first of which is 'I Am The,' which uses similar vocal disintegration effects as something you'd hear Dan Deacon singing with. Then there's 'Jyonder,' an admirable combination of tribal chants and funky future elements. 'Thinking From A Distance' also abides by this formula, with the obvious distinction that the crystalized sounds are now coated in space dust. Finally, 'Eclipse' drags whatever sample it's using to strenuous length, droning them across rich percussion and dense synthesizers. Even 'We'll Make It' draws slight Vaporwave comparisons, as it doesn't sound unlike a 90's television commercial caught on a loop. As is evident, Paul White's influence runs the breadth of musical understanding, coming to the conclusion that kaleidoscopic waveforms are the most tantalizingly stimulating.

The constant appreciation of samples on Everything proves to me something Paul White's capable of doing given time; producing an Avalanches-esque Plunderphonics LP. Now sure, the toughest part of which is sequencing, structuring, and making tactful songs out of past endeavors, but the other half is the musical wherewithal to masterfully unite opposing spaces to create something new, and White has that in spades. The closest we get to that is Everything's best creation; 'Maori Baby Junior.' It's the only track over three minutes, and worthy of every second it spends with us, dancing around spry percussion that bears resemblance to Microhouse, had that genre ever been bathed in sunburnt hues of orange. And with 'The Concept Of I' joined at the seam, a mostly spoken word send-off, brings vocals back to the forefront, sending Everything off with a bubbling, aquatic wave. The repetition this song, and a few others, feature is almost hymnic by design, like we're being baptized in White's prismatic world. It's only thirty minutes, but the time Everything You've Forgotten spends with you is, ironically, not easily forgotten. This beat tape, with Hella Personal Film Festival and Atrocity Exhibition in tow, only further proves Paul White's bold status as music's best producer right now. 

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