Rhythm Section International, now in its second year, revisits this mini-album EP which possesses a unique sound that displays a defining 90's RnB influence. After its release on cassette late 2015, the album is now available on 12”, cleverly landing ready for the summer season that is rapidly creeping in. The label has built a reputation as a platform providing forward-thinking music to be loved and consumed, which makes it easy to understand why it was nominated for label of the year in 2015. In this release, label owner Bradley Zero is once again playing true to his chosen name “International”, although the label and a number of its connected artists hail from Peckham, London.
Behind the piece is producer/multi-instrumentalist SilentJay alongside frontman Jace XL who are both working out of Melbourne, Australia. The duo’s debut performance on the world-renowned Boiler Room and has since led them to tour their home country as well as playing together regularly in and around the “impossibly fertile” Melbourne scene. Their latest collaboration is as if your hip-hop mindset met 90’s RnB and all the jazz/soul records you were shown as a kid, resulting in a passionately narrated tale about young love.
The key to the album is its simplicity; the 8 tracks are enriched with minimal grooves and organic sounds with a real Peven Everett type flavour. Of course, a vocalist would be lost without beats, but Jace XL brings the heat and makes his role in the operation just as vital. His piercing vocals at times are hypnotising, and if you’re listening with your undivided attention you can totally see the picture he is trying to paint. A great example would be the intro, as the spoken word gives us an ethos about getting by as a 90’s kid; an insight to staying true in a misleading world. Generally, the drum work is very pure and wholesome, but in tracks like “Just Waking Up” SilentJay goes in on the drum machine with bold kicks, tight snares and double-time hats smothered in distortion. The complexities of the tracks don’t go much further than beats, bass, keys and deep hooks, but the pair sure pull it off.
Personal favourite “Rockabye” kills it with its J Dilla style Rhodes and moving breaks. The track has a solid, classic hip-hop drum loop at the base that features a minimal riff and a baseline that hits you to the core. What to be said about the vocals? Well, you should probably just listen to the track…