Justin Peroff is doing just fine under his alias Junior Pande. The drummer for Toronto alt-rockers Broken Social Scene has not only fallen in love with drumming, but he also spends a lot of time flirting with experimental percussion, colourful electronica and fifty shades of hip-hop. In this, his third tape for the very cool Spring Break Tapes!, Peroff dives once more into his eclectic bag of percussive tricks and pulls out what is the stand-out tape in a trilogy two years in the making.
Your thirty minute ride kicks off with a prehistoric beat, stomping against the speakers like a Tyrannosaur caged in a forested enclosure. Not only is Peroff able to sustain park-destroying rhythms, but he plays around with the dinosaurs of the 16-bit era with some gorgeous arcade phrasing. Spray painted melodies ripple against the early 90’s vogue, straight out of an old video game where the only available direction was to go forward. In the present day, this advance applies to Peroff’s music – he keeps his unique musical character on the experimental quest. Because of this, he constantly pushes the boundaries of what is possible.
Squelching beats leave deep footprint puddles that quickly fill with mud as they roam around the dense jungles, but there are no paddocks to enchain the music. Peroff’s music is free of loading screens or filler; every section is a short excursion through soft syncopation, with padded rhythms inviting a slow, smooth ride.
Some melodies sure do sound familiar, but they’re from a hazy, youthful period, when countless hours were spent with an Italian plumber who advocated flower power and then disappeared down a pipe. Every interlude is a ride in itself, and there’s always something fresh and exciting to discover. There is so much diversity on display that each interlude could be a new section of a recently opened amusement park, shining with dazzling colours and exciting, breakneck rides. The contradiction between older, 16-bit melodies and contemporary, block blasting beats presents an interesting listen. A couple of tracks are sprinkled with bass-line punches and reverb soaked synths that scuba-dive under the water, reappearing at the afternoon show in the Sea Life Zone.
Each side is beat-specific, but the captain of the control room never lets the beats malfunction. It’s full of activity, at the forefront of modern mixtape technology, with many stations keeping an eye on the rest of the park. Peroff never gets trapped inside the beats, where some may think the prevalence of rhythm acts as a restriction. Down the soft rapids we are sent, a chilled, refreshing pause in casual, foamy surf. Soft synths are injected as the rhythms tinkle, but the peace doesn’t last for too long – syncopated beats take bites out of the 16th notes, as if the ride featured a shark complete with sharp, chomping teeth and tiny black eyes that come a little too close for comfort. Boy, that looks realistic.
Peroff has more versatility and freedom of direction than two analogue sticks. It’s a beautiful place, where phosphorescent jets shoot away the threats on classic arcade screens. The Wild West Zone is the last stop, a dehydrated desert complete with dusty saloons and gunslinger shoot-outs at noon. Peroff’s sound is eclectic and diverse, loaded with rhythmic weaponry. Tape Three warps between more park zones than the Xbox One debut switched television channels. His experimental musicianship levels up, and leaves the Jurassic past behind. (James Catchpole)