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  • Filed under: Review
  • 05/09/2012

Sweatson Klank Elevate Me EP

Take, one of the Los Angeles beat scene's earliest producers of note, has re-emerged with a new handle, Sweatson Klank, along with an updated style which he displays across five tracks for his first EP under the new name.

If the Elevate Me EP had been cut down to its two strongest tracks, the opening "Always You" and the woozy "I Can't Explain," we may have thought Sweatson Klank was up to something worthwhile. But, as the other three tunes reveal, Elevate Me is a beats for beats' sake kind of affair and not much more. Where before, Take's productions folded their share of grit, subtleties, and—dare we say—artsy inclinations amongst its kicks and snares, Klank's productions do not. The resulting tunes are instead precisely polished pieces of head-noddery, ones where conceptual depth and emotional quality are much lower on the priority list than big beats and rumbling bass. The dub-influenced "My Love Is Here" accounts for the record's most questionable example of such inclinations, chopping a soulful vocal sample over a shuffling half-time beat (complete with an almost-obnoxious amount of hat and kick rolls) and lacing the tune with a shameless helping of low end, left to growl and rumble for the track's entirety.

The aforementioned saving graces, "Always You" and "I Can't Explain," are held up only by the strength of their musical qualities, as each manages to land on a combination of irresistible notes that lure you in enough to forget about the questionable aesthetic choices upon which they appear. "Always You" floats along with an airy procession of vocal samples and cascading arpeggios, meeting up with heaping low end and skittering percussion for a spacey slice of modern R&B-influenced beatwork. "I Can't Explain" takes a jazzier path to land in a similar place, although the tempo noticeably changes here to a cool 85-plus bpm. Between the bit-crushed chords and simple, steady drum pattern, "I Can't Explain" comes off like a Madlib-reminiscent piece of modern hip-hop, except cleaner and less lazy.

How Take landed on the sound for his new Sweatson Klank project is a bit of mystery. Perhaps these sorts of beats are intended to win over hat- and hoodie-donning beatheads in their late-night habitats, but—quite frankly—these tracks lack the dimensionality to make them anything more than momentary eclipses of unnecessarily visceral boom-bap.

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