Musicians I’m Diggin’: 10SecondBeats

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve last spoken about Electronic artists that have opened doors to distinct sounds that captivate the very fiber of my ear drums. So what better way to return than to talk about a musician/producer. I had the pleasure of having various conversations while witnessing his growth through the varying genre channels he has worked on since the mid-2010s, possibly longer. Whether it’s Hip-Hop or Electronic, Jack Davenport, better known as 10SecondBeats, has been able to dig into his soul and figure out how to weave distinguishably contextual sonic styles while retaining a sense of identity throughout. When we first met, we messed around and turned a piece of the score Saló into this fun Hip-Hop beat that captured the essence of its score, growing to something unique from one of the most random samples. It’s profound, letting the delicate nature of instrumental layering and sequencing boast each track unforgettable. I was left in awe by 10SecondBeats’ consistent output, where the music succeeds past the vibes, creating remarkable work that I had to write about it now.

Jack Davenport studied music, and it shows, especially in how he talks about the artists who have influenced his decadent style. In short, he may not be on the scale of commercial DJs/artists like HAAI, Nia Archives, or even Norah Van Elken – artists I’ve spoken about prior. But one thing is for sure – when tasked with creating music, there isn’t a route he can’t overcome, especially when shifting a sample from one genre to another or understanding context and tone for delivering auspicious work. It’s heard in the minimalist, but captivatingly first album, Long Week, which explores the musical gears churning in Jack’s brain, functioning differently depending on the day. It adds credence to this thematic element, where the motif revolves around daily vibes. The Hip-Hop is vibrant and the nostalgic overtones never feel much, further making pushing the music to higher plateaus.

We hear it on the albums Long Week III, which feels like Hip-Hop swam in the fountain of youth, and the Jazzy, experimental nature of his beats are reminiscent of the 90s boom-bap era. Except for Jack Davenport, he brings modern twists that let you hear how similar-minded influences Madlib, J Dilla, and Four Tet have shaped his intuitive viscosity track to track. You can hear my conversation with Jack on J Dilla on The Twin Geeks Music Show. Talking to him about Dilla gave me more insight into the Hip-Hop tracks Jack created, but his electronic juices have flowed in and out too, in between releases. Jack Davenport released an EP in 2016 called Blink, which laid out this lax vibe and never seemed to teeter toward hollowness, creating beautiful synergy between the sonic elements included, whether coming from the percussion, the synths, or the vocals, which get modulated to fit the aesthetic. Like it, Jack continues to push himself to keep themes poignant, which is harder to replicate fluidly through the various forms DJs perform and create. 


a jazzy Saturday beat I forgot to post yesterday because I went out and drank beer. enjoy this experiment, should I finish this track? #producertok #ukgarage #jazz #electronicmusic #launchpad #ableton #StopScammerTime

♬ original sound – 10secondbeats – Jack D
Last year, Jack Davenport dropped Last Night Club On Earth. An album that imbued the performative aspects of club life, expanding to new horizons, like the beautifully radiant “Her Trembling Hands.” As 10SecondBeats, Jack harnesses the intimate details that coat the base layer and eloquently smooths them through a consistent flow of consciousness. We hear the varying strings and synths on “Her Trembling Hands” or the potent glitchiness of “No Smoking,” the range is fantastic. But there is only so much I can say until I start dissecting every individual track, so at this point, it’s up to you to take this journey through an up-and-comer’s catalog and experience the music yourself.

Serpentwithfeet – Deacon: Review

Josiah Wise or, known better as, Serpentwithfeet has been a part of a musical realm of oblique vocal deliveries over experimental R&B sounds that takes influence from sonic styles of varying eras of R&B. His debut, Soil, brought a lot of the nuances from these styles as he painted these elegant pictures with his songwriting and sultry falsetto. Coming off a few low profile releases and a beautiful duet with Ellie Goulding on her 2020 release Brightest Blue, he has come back with the followup to Soil, Deacon. Deacon brings forth a series of paintings that tell stories about love, religion, and identity, as Serpentwithfeet brings forth a strong fortitude in his thematic transitions, even when songs don’t leave the consistent impact that Soil did.

Deacon, instrumentally, softens the kind of approach Serpentwithfeet takes within layers of the sonic transitions allowing for experimental consistency, though experimental is a loose term here. The experimental aspects come from these unique ways the production incorporates both conventions of R&B styles, particularly the popular parts of the blue-y 90s and and the rhythm heavy 00s; as well as an occasional vocal-gospel inflection of some of the harmonizations. There are some nuances, too, to the stylistic focus behind the percussion heavy R&B of the 00s and the slow-somber guitar centric style of the 90s, which had more focus on the blues aspect of the anagram.

Serpentwithfeet brings varying aspects of both, usually individualized on each track – one or another. Other times he is finding a beautiful blend of the two, like on “Same Size Shoes.” The beautiful melodies of the idealistic happiness he sees in the similarities between him and his lover. The production has been a key element of Serpentwithfeet’s work as it lays with the direction of his content. On Soil, he laid a foundation of his being and on Deacon he reasons with love and reasons with doubt on the surface, with the grounded songwriting creating more underlying themes. It reflects well with the broken down instrumentations on certain songs, like on “Amir,” and “Malik,” which are a combination of these idyllic men he creates in his head. 

Serpentwithfeet and his producers steer the ship through some decadent transitions from start to finish. But there are moments where a song feels like a stagnant pause with slight abruptness, like on “Dawn.” It feels like an interlude that does little to connect the dots, but it does transfer the dynamic to have some slight gospel and soul undertones to take command of some sonic moods. Similarly with “Derrick’s Beard,” an otherwise lovely interlude that feels displaced within the collection of tracks, with its somber like vocalization not mirroring what precedes and follows in conceptual mood.

“Sailor’s Superstition,” brings forth a smooth combination of soul and baroque pop textures on the R&B vocal-subtexts, which revolves around a tale about superstitions told about a commonality in relationships. Serpentwithfeet’s eloquent use of the sailor analogy, which refers to that of an attraction to opposite or in his case – same sex – person/object deterring ideas of internal happiness in this case, unlike sailors where it’d be more work related. 

Throughout Deacon, you hear a consistency in the inflection of his vocals, as they breath essences of the choir like amplification of the harmonies and at times melodies. But as reliant an album has with creating transitioning cohesion, Deacon has more individualized standouts as opposed to one big lush project you can listen to from start to finish. “Fellowship,” which closes the album, encapsulates all these themes on the back burner and delivers a smooth dance track that doubles as an ode to the bond of friendships. It’s the only thematic outlier that flows well within the contexts of the album, Deacon.

Deacon is definitively a different album than Soil, but it shows a kind of maturity in both sound and style you tend to see with artists of his mental caliber. The music breathes a life all its own with the content being vibrantly drawn in our mind through the songwriting. 

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Madlib – Sound Ancestors: Review

Through the years many producers in Hip-Hop try to make a name for themselves by adding little quibbles in their opening stamp, like DJ Mustard’s “Mustard On The Beat Hoe.” Not everyone can make a new by following new trends. But for others, the true elegance comes from those who go through harrowing quietness and establishing themselves by their work and not plays. Madlib is one of the many who let the music speak more than telling the world who you are. His new album Sound Ancestor continues to show his elegance, with help from UK DJ/Musician Four Tet, as he takes his style to the future with an array of hip-hop/electronic hybrid tracks that cement his status as one of the greats.

When Kieran Hebden, or known better by his moniker Four Tet, was dropping a lot of work on YouTube through the pandemic, one thing came out worthy of note. And that was the news that he was working on a new album with producer MadLib. Four Tet’s time during the turn-of-the-century post IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) for the electronic music genre is heavily influential. His keen live instrumentation always enveloped one of the idiosyncrasies of his music, as one of the progressive artists at the time. 

So by bringing him into the fold with Madlib’s Jazz Hip-Hop – Sampledelic style is an odd pairing, but they make it work by never steering toward accessibility before reaching an Avant-Garde direction like the latin-music flare in the track “Latino Negro.” It’s embodiment of the Latin esoteric guitars and the lush and stagnant noise from the drum patterns.

After the initial taste in the intro’s simple high string keys and synth singularities, Sound Ancestors begins to take the melodic tones of Four Tet and makes a potent atmospheric undercurrent on the bombastic percussion center of the first few tracks. This is all before it gets to the lush and subtle stars that twinkle within the electronic currents, like on “Riddim Chant.” The illustrious track is embolden by electronic touches in the keys and what sounds like low barring wind chimes. 

These unique touches resonate throughout, even if they come unabashedly subtle, like in the track “New Normal,” which feels like a post mark of an early 2000s era of Boom-Bap-Jazz Hip Hop. And “Chino,” has that grit from a begotten era of New York where the DJ scratches had rule. It’s subtlety is as remarkable as the essence of the Golden Era sound, brought to the modern ages. 

This is why Sound Ancestors’ turn in the third section is where the momentum truly delivers. As the album keeps it rising with the first few tracks, the second half solidifies Madlib’s talent (along with Four Tet). The various sounds they work with are pieces of artistic beauty, especially “Two for 2 – For Dilla,” which acts as a homage to legendary instrumentalist and producer, J Dilla. It delivers a beautifully inspired track that makes great use of its jazz undertones.

Unfortunately at times the middle of the album feels almost like the middle of the road as a collective of notes don’t always hit with the same veracity as the first and third sectors flew out more. There are lowly vocalizations that add to the style and atmosphere and they heighten it further.

Madlib and Four Tet come strong with Sound Ancestors, and it comes as one of the many who have made January 2021 a strong month for music. They bring Jazz-Hip Hop to a new future with lush-overarching electronic coats on the music. The momentum bombastic and distinguishing instrumentations has a bit of a dip, though not enough to downplay the perfect mixing and editing. And that is enough to go back for smooth depth filled listening for any melancholic day at home.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.