Hip-hop and Rap music is not generally equated with atmosphere and transcendence, but 20 year old producer, astroblk, from Moreno Valley CA, provides a great example on his latest single, “Park Dates”, of how it can be just as otherworldly as other genres. To accomplish that transcendence, the producer implements the tricks of handfuls of different musical languages. Sometimes it’s the ecstatic energy of a hard loop, other times the slow sway of astral ambient, and even others the communal hooks of hip-hop. Sections of the track verge on the mystical while others pulse with the visceral beat of the percussion. I think astroblk set a standard and an aesthetic that can really come from the heart and can mean something really deep.
The problem with rating electronic music that people fall into all too often is that it’s easily, to worry about the surface aesthetics. It seems like people complain rather quickly if something’s not happening in the music that’s a brand new production trick or something that really wows on technical merit or complexity.
The way I tend to rate instrumental electronic music is how well a picture it conveys that a thousand words cannot. Stuff that drills deep, goes archetypal, that’s the kind of thing that gets me going – ie. Its real, its gritty, there’s something in it where the artist reached quite way deeper into his own mind than most people are used to.
And I actually liked “Park Dates” a lot in this respect, as astroblk seemed incredibly lucid in terms of emotionally knowing what he wanted to get out of this production. The track is totally fleshed out and supports a memorable melody line too.
The communication of the music means more to me than whether or not FL studio or some other software in the hands of the producer, did something that absolutely knocked the socks off the world as having never been done before; in 2018 that’s getting pretty damn hard for anyone to come up with.
In the digital age, the age of celebrity, this type of listening experience happens less and less, though when it is possible it is especially intriguing. There is imagery ingrained into the shifting soundscape that while adhering to an identifiable hip-hop beat shape, still teases the listener as it unfurls an array of luscious synths and warms pads.
Resulting in a track that is exhilarating and incredibly uplifting. Not a single second of “Park Dates” feels wasted and you never once find yourself wishing for a section to end and another to begin. Something highly unusual with instrumental music.
The sound on “Park Dates” finds a comfortable ground between rhythmic, melodic and ambient, and for the effort succeeds greatly.