Slap Serif – “Voice Inside The Music” (2020)

Somehow I lost track of Slap Serif after reviewing his debut, 2014s Hoods 1-4. But then I saw on Facebook that his newest effort, Voice Inside The Music, was being released as a very limited edition (of 100) CD and I knew I had to order a copy. And I’m glad I did, because this 15-song album simmers.

Samples and electronics combine to create a range of soundscapes, from the uptempo hip hop delivery of “Straight Shooter” to the more groove-oriented “Lovebird”. The common thread holding it all together is the dense layer of cool (both in terms of coolness and temperature), dreamy rhythms enveloping the listener in a cocoon of pulsing sound waves that seem to come from everywhere at once. For my money “Blue Train” is Voice Inside The Music‘s high point, a chill jam with understated male and female vocals with that quality of sounding modern but old-timey at the same time, the seeming dichotomy of eras disappearing right before your ears as you’re left with a piece that is more than simply the sum of its parts.

CD copies of Voice Inside The Music are available on Slap Serif’s Bandcamp page HERE, and you can also stream his songs both from there and on Spotify, so you have no excuse to not check him out.

Slap Serif – “Hoods 1-4” (2014)

Slap Serif is a young up-and-comer in the Seattle electronic music scene and he just put out his first digital release this weekend, the four track Hoods 1-4 (available online HERE). The songs are short – the longest comes in at a brisk 2:21, and the entire collection runs just over 7 minutes – but he uses the limited time well to show off some different stylistic ideas that make me think we’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the future.

Slap Serif isn’t just a one-trick electronica pony. Sure, “Hood 1” gives us some good straight forward beats and breaks, while some nice Casio-esque keyboard type sounds sprinkled in on top. But then “Hood 2” takes us in a totally different direction – the beats are there, but this is piano we’re hearing, not electronic keyboard sounds, a low-key, chill jazzy mix. “Hood 3” adds just a slight amount of a noise element on top of the beats, while “Hood 4” starts off a bit like “Hood 2” before spinning off into a heavier direction of psychedelia with what sound like some tripped out guitar samples.

For my money Slap Serif is at his best on “Hood 2″ and Hood 4,” where he strays outside the traditional electronica sounds and incorporates other elements, whether they be psych-rock or smooth jazz. His mixes show he has a good ear and can blend the old and the new to create something different, I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. You can check out al four tracks for free at the link above, and you can kick a few bucks his way and buy them if you like what you hear.