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  • Filed under: Review
  • 10/04/2013

Sons of the Morning Speak Soon Volume One

The combination of Prefuse 73 and Teebs as Sons of the Morning marks a fusing together of two generations of beat production. Though their generation gap may not be particularly large, it would be hard to imagine the beat scene from which Teebs ultimately rose without Prefuse 73's Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives or One Word Extinguisher LPs first helping carve a place for electronic experiments with instrumental hip-hop. In more recent years though, Prefuse's efforts have faded a bit into the background, especially as artists like FlyLo and ‎his Brainfeeder stable—of which Teebs is a member, of course—have increased their presence within electronic circles. That said, viewing this collaboration as an attempt by Prefuse 73 to inject new blood into his art would be a mistake, as Sons of the Morning is a project that works without gimmick, successfully using each member's individual style to create something that stands on its own.

From the very beginning of Speak Soon Volume One, Teebs' presence can be heard. The opening "The Way That Winter Passed Us" would not have felt out of place on the producer's Ardour LP with its slightly shuffling kick pattern sidechaining a procession of blissful, noise-laced chords. This relationship between the kick drum and pads of noise is one that remains mostly unaltered throughout the EP, with the thud of low-end percussion used to stutter otherwise continuous sheets of fuzz on almost every track. While this is certainly not an underutilized production tool in present-day electronic music, Sons of the Morning employs the technique with a tasteful distance, using the rhythms created to give movement to what otherwise are actually mostly ambient compositions of densely stacked and processed samples. The tactic works particularly well on tracks like "A Dangerous Exploration of Bird Life"—an effort which sounds like it is in a constant state of changing its bit depth—and "The Way That Wind Moves Pt. 2," a sparse cut which is initially reminiscent of Tri Angle acts such as Holy Other or Forest Swords, but eventually twists itself into slightly more psychedelic territory.

To those familiar with the sounds of both Teebs and Prefuse 73, the Sons of the Morning record doesn't offer much in the way of surprises. The blissful, heady beats of the former producer meld with the more free-form, psychedelic whims of the latter to create music that meets somewhere in the middle. To the artists' credit, the two styles suit each other nicely. However, those expecting the combination of Teebs and Prefuse 73 to be some sort of abstract, instrumental-beat dream team may find that Speak Soon Volume One does not live up to such lofty expectations. Taking the EP at face value seems to serve it best, as its delicate rhythms, understated textures, and immersive moods provide an interesting peek into Teebs' maturing production abilities and prove to be the best thing veteran beatsmith Prefuse 73 has put his name to in quite some time.

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