The primary appeal of 813, the anonymous Moscow-based beatsmith and RAD collective member who works as a fireman by day and producer by night, is that his tunes have always spelled out the direction they're about to take. Since his more chillwave-indebted debut Dusty Bubbles surfaced in 2011, the producer has remained a specialist in ecstatic, giddy beats, using a tasteful mix of tropical synths, pitched pop samples, and anthemic, subtly funky chords. The only notable change in his productions has been a subtle increase in speed, as he's gradually moved from fractured funk and boom-bap toward 140 bpm. On his new 12", 813 delivers three originals that distill what is so sustainably listenable about his work, while also giving a chance for three more rising tunesmiths to leave their own mark on his material, with consistent, often admirable results.
Espoir Voyage's strength stems from the fact that 813's originals on the a-side and the opposing remixes on the b-side seem to run in magnetic, parallel lines. The most mined cut here is the title track; it's a concise, brightly colored tune that hoists joyous piano stabs and a plethora of subtle details over a tectonically shifting rhythm section, adding claps, shakers, and a muffled woodblock across multiple bars. Both fellow RAD chum DZA and Los Angeles-bred beat juggler Lil Texas get a turn at the song, with DZA's rework being especially interesting. His take buries the opening riff under his own original synth embellishments and a considerably more diverse rhythm, as he pulls the tune through a series of tempo reformats; the track begins as a thick house cut and transitions into a grime-indebted, half-time composition. The EP's standout juxtaposition, however, is the throttled stomp of lead track "Village," which opens the EP's trio of originals, and its beautiful remix by Astro Nautico boss and rising producer Obey City. The latter is expansive, switching sonic pallettes from house to breakbeats and adding a sultry sheen to the original, letting various sounds and one-off patterns come and go at random before rounding the tune off with a soulful, booming finish. On the whole, Espoir Voyage is a humble, well-rounded release, one that offers the chance for 813 to indulge in more of what he does best and also lets others join in the conversation.