Chubby Checker, John Coltrane, The Roots, The Delfonics, Bahamadia, Josh Wink, Jill Scott, and King Britt. All cut their chops in the City of Brotherly Love. All pioeered music styles. All undoubtably full of soul. All slightly on the darker timbre of the sound spectrum. In the year of our one true Bass Lord Acidoneous 2016, let’s add one more to the list…Research & Development. After a string of remixes and singles, these maestro’s (The Architech & Tom Phoolery) of complex yet hypnotic riddims just dropped their debut ep, I Love My Country, on their digital imprint Wax Poetic Records.
Kicking off the release with the only purely vocal track, they ease you in with the jazzy title track “I Love My Country”. With a square-wave lead synth and full bottom end (heh), it’s a self proclaimed ode to the Baby Boomers. With the help of Philly soulster Rob ‘Harry’ Potter on the sax, the track meanders between beautiful horn riffs and smoothly delivered yet tongue-in-cheek lyrics like “As all the hippies go to jail for lifetimes, I sit around and enjoy a glass of white wine”.
After the first track, the record dips into more experimental and ominous territories. With influences ranging from drum and bass to hip hop to grime and a million others in between, it’s quite apparent that this bass duo is not only well versed in what came before them, but living up to their name and treading into waters of genre invention that most fear to go. This is not big room dance music with catchy hooks, yet the perfect soundtrack for your own 4am psychonaut explorations into your mind.
Having been to many a late night afterparty in dingy warehouses in Philly, it’s easy to hear the influences that their environment has had on their musical endeavors. Philly is an old city, filled with crumbling concrete and deep magic. Decrepit buildings are covered with psychedelic morning glories. Rusty and broken fences block in the places where some of the most legendary parties to ever happen in the entire universe have been held. A city that can dance until noon the next day, things tend to get a little…who am I foolin, things tend to get REALLY strange in the middle of the night. While the record delves into some eerie corners of weird (this is a good thing!), it never loses a beat and consistently keeps your head bobbing, much like Philadelphia. The production, mixing, and sound design on this release are impeccable…analog warmth meets digital precision. The arrangements complex yet mesmerizing. This is an incredibly well thought out collection of songs, by two guys who have a firm grasp on the gear as well as the mathematics known as music theory. ‘Suggesting’ you listen to I Love my Country is an understatement…I demand you take the time to put it in your earholes!