Hot out of the Bay Area comes electronic musician Snuise. His debut full length Permanessence is a sunny trip to uncharted musical destinations. Snuise’s music is beat heavy and sample-based (which is something we frequently see), but he vitalizes what would otherwise be a predictable structure with some live instrumentation. He has done some serious crate-digging. It is a delight to not only listen to but to experience.
The samples are fun and fresh, with lines such as ‘if the drum is a woman…why are you pistol-whipping your drum?’ This sample typifies his musical philosophy. While the physicality and texture of a beat can be rock hard, his music has a tender center and is at times soothing; the music, like a woman, should be treated right – and this is how it’s done. Flutes trail their perfume into the air, and the natural sound of the drumming gives the music a powerful aura of authenticity. Drums are as much a necessity to sampling as sampling is to the beat. They should never be far apart, and if they do ever split up the music is likely to end up confused, beaten and broken. Like Guns N’ Roses without Slash, it just ain’t happening.
Rhythms transform halfway through the tracks, often with startling effect. “Be” is a prime example. Here, the transformation from a stuttering harmony on the brink of collapse to a sweeping electronic vista is smooth and tastefully done. Permanessence flows loosely with an easy, cool vibe. The beats never break sweat, and the soft tempos radiate a relaxed atmosphere.
The inclusion of samples can clutter up the music, deform its shape. While clutter isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Permanessence has plenty of wide open space and it is all the more refreshing for it. Sample culture originated with hip hop and turntablism, but its relatively recent peak (90’s – present day) can be attributed to both young and old DJ’s who specialize in electronic dance music. The art of sampling worked its way outside the nightclub, but the music still courted with the Saturday afternoon and early evening. Bands such as The Avalanches, whose music is almost entirely built on samples, break the rules and then write a whole new textbook on effective sampling. Snuise’s music is light-footed and sure of itself, unafraid to be itself.
The samples coalesce with the rhythmic patterns beautifully; the two were always meant to be together. The music never becomes reliant on the underlying sample, which just shows the strength of Snuise’s instrumentation. Snuise is clearly in love with the art of sampling, but the twenty three year old impresses with stylish fluidity as well as bravery. His adept hands can clearly cope with a rainbow of styles, subterranean bass lines and sunny samples.
The whole record is one of casual immediacy, bright n’ breezy despite the rain of dust that has, over the years, fallen on the samples. The light hiss of the vinyl is far from a problem; it’s part of the music’s identity, worn into the music’s skin like the grooves on a fingerprint. Good music (as subjective as it is) never ages. (James Catchpole)
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