Oakland resident Matthew Tammariello aka Shortcircles has released a bevvy of previous work operating on midtempo instrumental hip-hop dubbed as “Bliss-Hop”, and championed by XLR8R writer Glenn Jackson’s label Mapzzz. Tammeriello then moved onto label Plug Research, and after a couple of EPs, now presents his first fully-realised LP Between Waves, a feel-good hip-hop/R&B instrumental masterpiece that musically explores a breadth of feeling and introspection in seamless fashion.
‘All I Can Be For You’ starts Between Waves very pleasantly and positively in midtempo anthem that feels very airy and spacious with its combination of ambiance and laid back bliss-hop vibe.
“Tunnels’ provides texture, with a glittering ambiance backdrop used to juxtapose an upbeat drumming with manic moogy synth, which swim back and forth through aforementioned ambiance, before progressing to include more layers of showering arpeggiated synths. Many of the prelude tracks of Between Waves utilise these elements.
‘Patience’ and the following ‘Smiles’ progressively introduce more introspection into Between Waves, with the inclusions of female vocals, and more play on instruments, although still with the same sweeping, tinkling synthetic elements and chimes as previously.
Between Waves then moves up a notch in depth and scope in ‘Shortcircles’, before settling into the R&B warmth of ‘On My Mind’, which to me is a real stand-out moment of the album.
The album kept its focus and gentle progression in seamless fashion, and it ends strong in ‘Sometimes Things Are Exactly As They Seem’. This track stood out as an evocative slow jam that uses a choir of voices and strong drum hits to accentuate power and beauty within the sonic textures. The rest of the album consists of reprises and instrumentals, which will serve DJs and those who are put off by voices in electronica.
Between Waves stands out as one of those albums where the focus was to make an album that makes you feel good about the life, universe and everything. The spell really worked on me, and any musical score that is capable of making critical (and self-effacing) humans happy is indeed a powerful piece of work.
9 out of a possible 10 Haarp Strings
Release Date: 2 July 2013