As prices for sample permissions have skyrocketed and the musicians whose work is being borrowed have become more litigious, producers are less willing to use sampling in their music. We’re seeing a lot of that in hip-hop, where producers from Kanye to El-P are simply making their own beats to imitate the sounds that they love, and in that way, avoiding the ire of the original creators. The development has also reverberated within the world of formerly sample-happy electronic music, where even big-name producers whose entire process was once screwing around with samples have begun to switch up their style.
That’s certainly the case with Charlie Yin: the producer, working under the name Giraffage, was known most well for sampled beats like the one on last year’s thrilling Alpha Pup single, “Close 2 Me”, and his remix of the entirety of The-Dream album Love Hate. Yin signed to Fool’s Gold this past June and promptly announced a new EP by releasing a remix of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)”. But when the EP, No Reason, arrived last week it was accompanied by an interesting disclosure: the songs on it were written completely sample-free.
That’s what Giraffage says, anyway. Listening to the EP, fans will notice a wealth of the same kind of tricks that Yin hooked them with in the first place. There are still plenty of vocals and sound effects present here: “Hello” kicks off the record with a screwed up version of the phrase: “I just want to hear that we’re ok” and those words echo throughout the track, set between the sound of iOS notifications, dial tones, static, and the lushest of synthesizers. When he talks about eschewing samples, Yin may just mean that he wrote all the instrumental music before adding borrowed sounds. But even if he recorded the other noises himself, their variety and interpolation contributes to the same sense of dynamism and depth that’s always powered his music. Which is to say that, even if everything about his process has changed, not much about his music has.
Which is good news: Giraffage excels at wringing a variety of feelings out of his tracks, using changes in register as an emotional dial. By changing how high or low a voice registers, he’s able to shift the way we understand what we’re hearing, as on “Tell Me”, in which the title phrase is spun back and forth so that it’s made to sound like a dialogue between lovers. But even more important is what’s happening lower in the mix, where a wall of sound rears up, suffusing the listener in colored sonics so deep that the words become a small part of an enormous sensation.
This kind of sudden eruption is typical of Giraffage; the producer’s become a populist favorite as much because of his willingness to use traditional drops as his penchant for candy-colored R&B. “Be With You”, the last and best song on the record, pulls the beat out several times only to reintroduce it with fringed, lightning-rod synths on top of it. Fans will recognize the instrumental; it’s the same one that was constructed around that R. Kelly remix, though it actually works better as a standalone.
And maybe that’s really what Giraffage means when he talks about his new approach. His work with remixes and samples in general has always reflected a remarkable sense of depth, so much so that, if you were to pull out the original artist’s work, you would still be left with the sense of hearing a complete track. More than ever, the music he’s constructed on No Reason has the ability to stand on its own. But add the vocals and the ticks, the bleeps and the bloops, and you’ve got style in addition to that solidity. Those smaller elements make Yin who he is as a musician, and samples or no samples, here’s hoping he doesn’t abandon them anytime soon.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://ift.tt/1yaBT25