Basic Rhythm came to me via my all-time favorite channel: direct word of mouth. I love diving into anything recommended with heartfelt enthusiasm by a friend. To me, it’s the best form of discovery.
True to its name, this album moves with a raw physicality, clawing its way into my mind despite its unassuming presentation. Ignore the artwork, the name that reminds me of Berlin techno legends, and the almost comically generic title; this is one of the best beat trips of the year so far.
I can’t mention this fact often enough: my friends are the source of so much of my favorite music, and always have been. The best Spotify algorithm in the world will never suggest something as surprising and endearing as the random albums and songs that get thrown my way at the office, on Twitter, or elsewhere. This album from Basic Rhythm is a perfect example.
Described by a friend as one of the best things he’s heard this year, despite being basically a beat tape, Raw Trax was something I had to hear for myself right away. The thing is, my friend was spot on; this is a beat tape at heart. The eight tracks here, spanning a hearty but brief 40 minutes, explore a range of crunchy textures, enigmatic structures, and genre flirtations.
I’m reminded of hearing DJ Rashad’s mixtape Just A Taste Vol. 1 (best of 2011) for the first time, an experience that felt like the first rumbling of a paradigm shift. While Raw Trax isn’t as bleeding-edge strange to my ears, the rough, patchwork quality of this release emphasizes a dangerous energy and no-fucks-given attitude toward boundaries. Throughout the set, I glide through the ghosts of footwork, 1990s Warp weirdness (think Autechre and LFO), and something that feels like the mutant cousin of the rave music I spent the end of last century writhing in. Genre signposts are everywhere, but they only serve to confuse and obfuscate the paths that this music takes.
I couldn’t decide on a single track to represent the album, so here’s the intro track and one one right from the heart of the album.
The album opens with Raw Trax (Weekend Rush):
Possibly my favorite track, Maintain: