Instrumentalni zvuk tretiran kao acapella. Introvertirani rendgen ghettoskapizma.
Evian Christ, the anonymous producer whose unannounced series of straight-to-YouTube ambient footwork positioned him as the most exciting new artist of the year, has revealed his name—Joshua Leary, as many speculated—and finally shared high-quality MP3s of those songs. Christ resides in the UK, apparently; he’s 22 years old. While there are no new productions in the set, entitled Kings and Them, all tracks have been remastered and shine brighter than ever. If you downloaded one of the gunky YouTube rips floating around, it’s worth the upgrade. Songs like “Go Girl,” which douses Baby Bash’s 2010 song of the same name with a bucket of oily, electrified slop, now have enough bitrate space for all the beat elements to breathe. Sounds great as ever—better even. -www.thefader.com/
Tri Angle finally unveil a very necessary vinyl cut for 'Kings And Them', the oustanding debut from The Wirral's Joshua Leary, and easily one of the year's most striking records. Reduced to four tracks (from eight on the digital release), 'Kings And Them' delivers a haunting take on the unholy nexus of screwed, dark electronics and trapped-out Ghetto modes. A-side features the skeletal drums and infectious hook of his mighty 'F*ck It None Of Y'all Don't Rap' beside the Grouper-like ambience and skittish 808 minimalism of 'Thrown Like Jacks'. Flipside you get the iced-out synth float and radiant subbass of 'Drip', and the hollowed bounce of 'Myd'. A real killer this.- boomkat
Collecting the eight tracks that have gathered slathering attention from all angles over the last month, Kings and Them is almost the debut proper of the never-actually-that-elusive Evian Christ. Swiftly picked up by Tri Angle Records in what could really be the only appropriate move for the brooding, shadowy, introverted take on footwork he had on offer, these have now been collated and distributed for free, digitally.
With many producers now exploring juke elements at tempos closer to house, Evian Christ’s slightly slower take on 808 vs. vocal fragments is not new in itself. However, what sets him apart (and relevant to Tri Angle) is his thick, reverb-drenched timbres. Rich Hammond organ-like buzzing, lo-fi rattling pulses that sound like guitar pedal effects and ethereal filtered pads are all elements typical of drone, but Evian Christ chooses instead to push them through strong, articulated harmonies.
The result is a sound similar to both How To Dress Well (strongly reminiscent on ‘MYD’ and the Baby Bash-sampling ‘Go Girl’, for instance) and at the same time, even without the percussion and vocals, the Night Slugs / Fade To Mind camps (such as ‘Drip’ and ‘Horses In Motor’). While all tracks have this mixture, it hovers in an intriguing middle-space on ‘Snapback Back’, ‘Thrown Like Jacks’, ‘Fridge, Crank, Gun’ and, arguably the strongest cut, ‘Fuck It None Of Y’all Don’t Rap’.
The simplicity of the tracks is another feature that stands out, with these pages having already stated that they are “pretty straight-forward”. Despite any negative connotations that may have, it is still true, and could be considered part of Evian Christ’s strengths. Long phrases are built from interlocking blocks, builds and drops are present, and a similar instrumentation (vocals, pads, 808; bass is left to the tuned kick) is found on every cut. However, this ‘formulaic’ approach is not dull; in fact, the elastic, rhythmic nature of the phrasing is that much closer to original footwork than some recent offshoots, so within the simple structures still lies a lot of variation.
This is probably also part of the reason Kings and Them revolves around a very limited palette of material yet maintains interest throughout. The recurrence of certain rhythms and fragments of lyrics from a single Tyga track in particular give it an exploded feel, like each track was a personal study of sorts, exercises in successfully capturing a particular sound. As a straight-through listen this may be too much, depending on personal tastes, but that is not to say Kings and Them was ever designed to be a play-through album.
In this respect it also makes sense that it is being offered by Tri Angle as a free download, benefiting everyone and probably giving the producer some space; the next step in Christ’s development will no doubt be fascinating now that he has an outlet established. Until then, however, this is an arresting debut that will probably end up marking a particular point in time. It is also a very relevant milestone in Tri Angle’s catalogue, marking a step into music that will inevitably be played in new spaces to new audiences. - Steve Shaw
Evian Christ: Kings And Them
In the current issue of Dazed & Confused, we
speak to the mysterious UK producer on Tri Angle Records about his Tyga
rap acapellas and warped bass-heavy electronica
A sudden influx of Twitter accounts declaring “Fuck It None of Y’all Don’t Rap” at the end of 2011 led us to a mysterious YouTube channel where Joshua Leary aka Evian Christ had uploaded eight tracks that fused together elements of weirdo drone and thug hop. Released as a free download entitled Kings and Them (via Tri Angle Records), each track used cut-up vocal samples from rapper Tyga’s “Snapback Back” paired with dark drugged-up beats, hypnotic synths, haunting percussion and deep, rumbling bass.
I made a few tracks when I had some time off over Christmas, put them on Youtube, did nothing to promote them, and here we are now two months laterIn the current issue of Dazed & Confused, we talk to the 22-year-old producer for his first UK interview as he spliced together some strange samples for his follow-up.
Dazed & Confused: Do you feel like the religious connotations of your moniker are reflected in your music?
Evian Christ: Maybe – I hope so. I’m basically just taking cues from rap music and trying to put an otherworldly spin on things with drone music samples and weird pads I’ve made. It’s interesting though, because there is a quasi-religious theme running throughout the Tri Angle roster. The label has a really strong image and aesthetic so it’s nice to feel that I fit in with that.
D&C: What’s the story behind the title to Kings and Them?
Evian Christ: The release was sort of like a deconstruction of the ‘Snapback Back’ acapella, which I used in pretty much every track. So the name was taken from a line in that song: ‘Last kings and them Ti$as yeah they sell like crack…’ Obviously I didn’t originally make the tracks with a view to compiling and releasing them, but in the end that was the string that tied them all together, so I titled it accordingly.
I quite like the whole regal thing anyway, it works.
I’m basically just taking cues from rap music and trying to put an otherworldly spin on things with drone music samples and weird pads I’ve madeD&C: Are you trying to stay anonymous?
Evian Christ: Honestly, I never really understood the whole anonymous thing. People were speculating that I uploaded the tracks as some sort of contrived PR stunt, or that I was an established artist trying to create attention for a new project; all sorts of stuff, and it was never like that. I’m just new. I made a few tracks when I had some time off over Christmas, put them on YouTube, did nothing to promote them, and here we are now two months later. They just caught people’s attention and the momentum kind of built naturally, which was cool.
D&C: Do you think Tyga would enjoy your creative re-workings and use of his voice? How much do you hate his voice now?
Evian Christ: I think he’d find it interesting. I know he likes The Weeknd and stuff like that so he might be into it. Obviously I know every single word to Snapback Back now and I am kind of tired of hearing it, but I still love Tyga’s voice. It’s perfect for sampling.
The release was sort of like a deconstruction of the ‘Snapback Back’ acapella, which I used in pretty much every track...D&C: What are you working on now?
Evian Christ: I’m trying to focus in on a theme for my EP – listening to a ton of strange music, collecting samples, starting to make tracks. I’m going to buy some more analogue gear; big old keyboards and stuff. I’m really excited about everything actually.
D&C: Who are your 5 favourite rappers of all time and why? And if you were locked in a room forever with only one hip hop song on loop, what would it be?Evian Christ: Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, Cam’ron, Method Man, Pusha T. (Because they are all insane.) That would be Raekwon – North Star (Jewels).
Photography Michael Mayren
Taken from the April Issue of Dazed & Confused.