Chris Daly is seven years of bad luck.
Late night and dusty is how I like my beats. You know this by now, mang. If you’re producing jawns appropriate for well past the midnight hour, odds are you have my ears’ full attention. That said, I’m not unwilling or unable to leave my comfort zone. For those of you out there with a similar foundation looking to expand, I’ve got the add to your rotation. Enter Sm^th, a Bay Area beatsmith by way of Wisconsin, and his latest project, “Mirrors.”
The two track EP might initially puzzle you, to the extent that both joints, ‘Heel/Toe” and “Reinterpreting the Wheel,” start with the very same chilled out vibe I said I wanted to move beyond. About halfway through each track, however, Sm^th turns on a dime, adding a level of looseness seldom seen in this particular sub-sub-genre. I suppose if one could track to the second when one’s drugs fully kick-in, one need look no further than “Mirrors” for the perfect accompanying soundtrack. The former track starts with crate digger loops and scratches alongside tight kick drums and cymbals, reminiscent of L’Orange or Madlib on a particularly old school kick, before upping the BPM and falling into a straight on dance groove. Eventually, the song comes back down to earth, but not before ample frenetic energy is expanded.
“Reinterpreting the Wheel” follows a similar trajectory, but the opening bars are a bit more contemporary in flavor, comprised of what sounds like field recordings of pages turning on top of bells and various other percussion instruments. Then, once again, just around the halfway point, Sm^th drops it like a cheating ex-girlfriend, adding hyperactive, high pitched vocals, not for lyrical content, but as another instrument to be utilized in the mix. While the above description might sound jarring, Sm^th’s beats build organically, moving from laid back to high speed at a moment’s notice, . His musical influences of everyone from Dilla and Pete Rock to Flying Lotus and Bibio show through in all the right places. The progression is natural, creating an almost roller coaster-like sensation, full of logical ups and downs. And then, just like the preceding track, it’s gone, slowing back to a stoner’s pace before vanishing into the night.