I’m a huge proponent of night walks, no matter the time of year. While most friends of mine accept my love of meandering for hours on end most evenings, they tend to despise me come the hellish winter, Chicago feels for the better part of four months. Even then, I elect to walk rather than take public transport due to the onslaught of nostalgic memories and music releases.
Producers put forth the most emotion, I feel, in the tracks they create during the quiet, relatively inactive touring schedule they experience for a duration of time. They, in a sense, are thrown into a period of hibernation, where they spend the most time being introspective and have ample time to completely lose themselves in their creations. Many of these releases take on a darker, more melancholic sound to them which, of course, I adore.
Around this time in 2010 I fell in love with Nujabes, only to be wretchedly heart broken a month later after his death in a tragic car accident. In memory of him, the Australian beatmaker, Ta-ku, has been making a beat a night as a part of his 25 Nights for Nujabes series he’s sharing on his SoundCloud. On Night 12, he also dropped his latest EP called Make it Last, which he released via LFTF.
We open with a simple chord progression of synths and distorted vocal samples from TLC’s ‘No Scrubs.’ Then, they break into a wave of synths and drums given the track more depth. He continues to chop and change the pitch of the vocal samples to make those into their own beats. It’s a catchy song, and makes for a fantastic and smart introduction to the EP - Ta-ku ensnares us with something familiar, but it’s also quite restrained in that he doesn’t let his well-known sample overtake the beautiful execution of his production.
2. Make it Last feat. JMSN
This starts off with a very subtle, yet sexy synth melody complimented further with JMSN lending his voice to the song. It has an old-school R&B vibe, yet is still fresh enough to not get buried in what’s already been done. It becomes inherently obvious that Ta-ku is a well-versed producer - he understands how to cross genres successively and can still create sensuous beats. The bass line in this song is pure sex, which is especially highlighted in the last minute of the track. It’s simple, understated, and feels like velvet. Yes, you can feel songs like fabric, don’t give me that look.
3. Tell Me Twice
Ta-ku literally made me shout within the first ten seconds of this track with his sampling of Groove Theory’s, ‘Tell Me.’ Thus far, the only producer that makes me ‘kya’ for his remix of that song is by London-based George Fitzgerald, which is a complete stunner, do make sure to check it out.
Back to ‘Tell Me Twice,’ it continues with the same down tempo, sensual mood ‘Make it Last’ introduced to us and by now you should be making sweet love. This is a more intense track in the relatively aggressive synths, but it’s skillfully taken down a notch with the almost painfully slow tempo of the initial drums and bass line. When he gets into the next melodic build up, it becomes much harder and fairly dissonant from the beginning of the song. He resolves it, all is well in the world, and he takes us on a more ethereal, dreamlike journey. This is a stand-out track on the EP and definitely a favorite of mine.
4. Sweat Like Keith
There is a near seamless transition from ‘Tell Me Twice’ into ‘Sweat Like Keith’. We’re still on the sex-driven route but on an even more simpler note without traversing into minimalism. He samples from Keith Sweat’s ‘Twisted,’ keeping the vocals fairly distorted with the exception of Sweat’s own vocals. There’s a driving deep bass guiding the song interspersed with glitchy vocals and a subdued drum line. It becomes very apparent on how well-crafted the flow Ta-ku created is threaded through these four tracks. There’s a definite conclusiveness to the EP that makes it cohesive. He leaves us craving more… music. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the one.
This is an absolutely addictive EP, quite like his other releases on his SoundCloud. He updates frequently so make sure to check him out here.
The EP is up for free download on LFTF’s site which you can peep here. Support it, love it, and groove hard.
Winter is coming,
Words by Rupa Jogani