Jim-E Stack Come Between EP
The debut EP from New Orleans-by-way-of-San Francisco producer Jim-E Stack took way too long to see the light of day (seriously, we first caught wind of this release back in June of last year), and its impact is slightly dampened because of this. Even so, the three tracks which make up Come Between still make for an engaging effort, one that finds the American newcomer dissecting futuristic UK club music with an intriguing sense for rhythm and an ear for the memorable.
Though there's no way to tell, it'd be surprising to find out that these tracks were not put together in the same creative period, as all three rely on virtually the same elements—warm, at times slippery chords, inescapably familiar vocal sampling, and cleverly utilized, unexpected rhythmic patterns. What results is truly hybrid music, incorporating touchstones from UK bass and funky along with glimpses of stuttering juke, smooth house, and space-age R&B. "Come Between" begins the effort with a machine-like pattern which would not be at all out of place as the first eight bars of a Night Slugs or Fade To Mind release. The ensuing production follows along the chain of events one would expect—folding in bits of explosive percussion, pitched vocals, and massive stabs, while leaving brief moments of space open for a gliding synth melody. From there, we dive into "3rd Soul," a syrupy tune which begins in a strikingly similar fashion as Jim-E Stack's own bootleg rework of ASAP Rocky's "Purple Swag." The chords have the right infusion of moodiness, which do shine through the gleaming layers of reverb, but it is really the drum programming that renders "3rd Soul" such a rewarding listen. The patterns shift and build with bits of perfectly quantized skitter, eventually locking into entirely inhuman patterns that never come close to a four-on-the-floor burst, but are nonetheless still entirely appropriate for the dancefloor.
The EP closes with Stack's best-known production, "Lemme," an energetic tune which first surfaced early in the summer of last year and has since received its fair share of rinses. The cut has an appeal that's hard to deny, particularly when the song's swashes of sticky, sun-kissed synths intermingle with an almost sing-a-long-worthy vocal refrain. But again, it is the underlying drum programming which makes "Lemme" such a worthwhile endeavor, beginning with a shuffling 2-step beat that Stack then cleverly builds upon, morphing it into a half-time pattern and, eventually, landing in an almost tribal, rolling procession. It is tracks like this that show the young producer undoubtedly has some real talent to put to use, and the combination of classic chord progressions and encapsulating melodies makes his tunes equally enjoyable in a club or headphones. That said, one can't help but feel like Come Between missed its mark by a few months; perhaps if it had surfaced alongside tracks like Jacques Greene's "Another Girl" and xxxy's "Ordinary Things," it wouldn't verge on sounding dangerously over-derivative. But even with this somewhat unfortunate timeline in mind, Stack still impresses with his debut, laying down the first chapter in a career worth keeping an eye on.
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