When a slinky beat by a producer named Brrd (a.k.a. Stuart Bird) appeared on FaltyDL's High Five list earlier this year, we certainly nodded our heads along a few times, but we didn't pay it much more mind than that. Now, we have the chance to see a wider scope of Brrd's abilities with the Towers/Anointing EP, the inaugural release for FaltyDL's new Blueberry imprint, and a record that positions the budding talent as a refreshing voice within the world of stoney, jazz-flecked beats.
Though he is without question a beatmaker, judging by the sound of the Towers/Anointing EP, it would seem that the artist does not care much about keeping up with the current trends of the "beat scene." Existing somewhere between the warm, jazz-flecked musings of Shigeto and the stoney sample pastiches of Knxwledge, Brrd sounds like he became uninterested with the evolution of "beat music" around the time that space-age FX, trap-indebted drums, and contemporary hip-hop became the tools of choice for beatmakers following in the footsteps of Brainfeeder and the like. Still, Brrd is not exactly forging new territory all for himself, but his allegiance appears to fall closer to Madlib than it does Flying Lotus.
Though it is touted as an EP, Towers/Anointing offers a total of 13 tracks; to be fair though, eight of them do clock in under the two-minute mark. A few tunes stick out from the pack, with "SCOCJ" offering a bass-heavy, low-slung slide through atmospheric jazz, while "Freezetag" is reminiscent of Peanut Butter Wolf's classic Peanut Butter Breaks 12" and "fuck bon jovi (slf)" appears as a sinister take on the bell-centric sound of Teebs. The record's second half locks in on a formula, with "The Anointing" crafting a simple groove with sampled piano notes, a straight-ahead kick-and-rim pattern, and playfully repitched R&B vocals floating on top. It's not exactly rocket science, but Brrd makes it work well. The only problem is that he then repeats this basic idea six more times on the record's b-side. While all the tracks are admittedly short and decent enough—"erase my future" and "satan" are especially nice—if one or two of the selections had been dropped, perhaps the others' impact could have been more lasting.
Still, its few shortcomings aside, Towers/Anointing is a quality effort and, furthermore, an extremely interesting note for FaltyDL to start his label on. In the end, Brrd has crafted an EP of beats that is everything it needs to be—full of soul, steeped in interesting and varied textures, and unrolled at an inviting pace. Where Blueberry goes from here is anyone's guess.