Thomas White – Grown Up Killah

Son Raw’s making loot like Marvel comic books, for his survival Montreal’s a hard partying city, a fact that keeps many a producer too exhausted from gigging to truly hunker down and...
By    January 20, 2014

Son Raw’s making loot like Marvel comic books, for his survival

Montreal’s a hard partying city, a fact that keeps many a producer too exhausted from gigging to truly hunker down and create tracks of real value. There’s a reason you’re not likely to find Lunice or Jacques Greene out on the town too often – creativity takes time and a decent amount of sleep. Add Thomas White to the short list of people putting in work in MTL’s fickle bass music scene – since adopting the moniker and founding Raw Records last year, the young producer has been on the grind, touring Europe and sticking to the studio rather than our clubs. Thankfully, his efforts were worth it and his latest EP for Russian Imprint Hyperboloid Records both builds on his previous achievements and opens up new possibilities thanks to higher production values and new-found sense of darkness and restraint.

Whereas White’s previous work hit with the same maximalist impact as fellow Canadian Ryan Hemsworth, Killah is remarkably spacious. Yes, he still stuffs more melodies, sounds and chord progressions into his beats than most, but now each element sits comfortably in the mix rather than fighting for space. It helps that he’s refined his palette, wrapping his ideas around Jay-Z, Diddy and Cam’ron samples and spending significant time on sound design to separate his work from whatever’s left of the trap wave. The result is that the EP’s title track is just as intense as previous work Rainbow Dolphins, but without the sugar-crash that came with a production philosophy that borrowed from Dubstep, Sea Punk and a million other ideas. In this case, less is more, and adopting straight up Hip-Hop as a guiding influence was an excellent decision.

B-side Missing You is even better. Here, combining R&B, Jersey Club and Jungle into something altogether new, White outdoes Special Request and Tessela at their own game, channeling his prog-impulses into rhythmic contortions rather than melodic ones. It’s the best track of the young producer’s career so far and an avenue I hope he continues to explore – those amen cut-ups somehow manage to bang and slink at the same time, a rare achievement in that it doesn’t quite sound like anything else out there. Even better, the chopped and screwed hook delivers a proper emotional payload, proof that you don’t need 15 ideas per track, just the right one to carry the weight. Finally, Rabid with fellow MTLien Dear Lola comes closest to White’s previous lushness but still sits belongs at the table with its darker peers thanks to banging Grime drum patterns and one of the most riotous sampled hooks I’ve heard in a minute, word to Puffy. Throw in some head twisting Jungle/D&B/Club remixes and you’ve got a career milestone worth the wait. And worth staying in for.

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