Mr Beatnick – Synthetes EP (Don’t Be Afraid)

A master producer and remixer with an intimate knowledge of house, broken beat, hip-hop and the skills to combine them all together, Mr Beatnick is a cultured artist that brings an unrushed sophistication to the table while all around him seem consumed with tension and pressure. Although his solo output is thin on the ground, 2009’s ‘Fourth Day’ EP on Futuristica featured the sublime jazz-laced beats of ‘Fallin Apples’, and this month the London based man returns on Semtek’s Don’t Be Afraid imprint with the ‘Synthetes’ EP.

The title track leads the laid-back feel of the EP, deep pads of bass pulse with purpose as a tight arrangement of strings gives an air of understated drama, finding that balance of sounding punchy without becoming abrasive. Synth keys play casually as different instruments float in and out, a kick drum providing just the right amount of bite to hold the melodic elements of the track together.

‘Don’t Walk Away From My Love’ shifts from tapping percussion to another rich groove of rolling synth notes, measured bass and flutters of disjointed strings, while ‘Casio Romance’ ties pieces of flickering feedback to a clapping beat, serenely working into a fleshed out harmony of soulfully wobbling synths and breathy bass lines.

The record closes with the Architeq remix of ‘Synthetes’, who compliments the string loops that underpin the original with a more prominent arrangement of percussion and synth manipulation. The sound track to a laidback café a couple of centuries into the future, Mr Beatnick’s classic styles create a welcome break with convention on a record that oozes class.

Robert McCorquodale

The ‘Synthetes’ EP will be released via Don’t Be Afraid on June 20.