Evan Nabavian only plays from the dusty stack.
Quelle Chris’ new pack of remixes imagines 90s alumni rapping over beats that sound a few generations removed from the Five-Percent Nation. Canonical vocals from ODB, The Pharcyde, and Camp Lo make the instrumentals that much more jarring. Chris’ beats are awkward things, abstruse and oblong, made to frustrate expectations. There’s a looped groan of guitars, horns that stab a hairsbreadth off beat, a staticky funk bassline, a liberal 80s synthpop sample. The beats are often muted and unhurried. They sound like bits and pieces that the novice beatmaker wouldn’t think to flip, but germinate in Chris’ hands and with the canny application of drums.
Beat tapes sometimes serve to show off the beatmaker’s recent additions to his record collection. Chris has gems, but as far as I can tell, his beats aren’t built on lost Soviet vinyl or undiscovered Venezuelan progressive folk (though I can help you with both of those things). Rather, his unexpected manipulations of stray sounds define these beats. In this, he recalls Donuts and Special Herbs. He chops and loops not just to explore but to invent.