Like the lingering perfume of somebody who’s just left a room, there is something inherently intoxicating and memorable about Oath’s audio aromas. Coming out of Perth, Australia and a member of the Little Wonder Productions family, his instantly recognizable soundclash of sun drenched samples and perfectly timed boom bap breaks evoke the sound of summers past better than anyone. To coincide with the release of his new instrumental offering, 2wenty8days BeatDust caught up with Oath to pick through the finest of his digital dimebags and see how the underground down under gets down.
Day #07: Bob Ajmes Wto
With ‘Bob Ajmes Wto’ – Oath showcases the innate ability of making complex musical arrangements sound simple and catchy. With an ecstatic dose of instantly approachable jazzed out melodies and dusty drums ‘Bob Ajmes Wto’ is as comforting and reminiscent as a John Hughes movie night.
Whilst there is a effortless, breezy quality exhibited throughout the beat (and indeed the whole 2wenty8ight days release) it is interesting to note the struggles and apprehension that surrounded its creation. Speaking with Beatdust, Oath explains “with 2wenty8days, it was really just a way to overcome a terrible beat block i was suffering at the time. The months of summer here in Australia can really inflict how much time you spend within the studio space or in my case (bedroom lab) during the summer months. I was getting nothing done for over 3 months. Not a single beat. So a good friend of mine suggested that i should set myself a little goal to make a certain amount of beats happen. So from here i said “how about i do a beat per day for the whole month of February?” This was on the evening of Jan the 31st. I woke the next day and was looking at records to begin”.
Exfoliating his creative pores – this is hip hop coated in currents of cosmic chillwaves. Pitched up jazz pianos and low pass basses swim around the ears, all courtesy of Creed Taylor’s CTI Records. “I have always loved the CTI Records label” explains Oath. “So the idea just clicked to do a sort of tribute in a sense and use grooves from that catalog”. ‘Bob Ajmes Wto’ is the sound of a producer regaining his mojo, liberating his skills and creating quality beats that come as simple and natural to him as drawing a breath.
Home To The Sea
This is that heroin flow – rich soaring echoes, punchy white powder drums and seductive reverbs are the narcotics used create this multilayered sonic attraction. As the introductory track to his debut release, Oath succeeds in summarizing his style and skill within the washy confines of ‘Home to the Sea’ and makes sure that the needle hitting the wax for the first time is as potent as a needle hitting the arm.
Excelling at placing a cluster of seemingly disparate sounds into one aural frame; dusty drums, muddy basslines, vintage piano stabs and earthy sounds of the beach are captured in perfect 26.040 kHz and 12bit resolution creating a deserted surrealistic shores under shimmering sky steeze. Taking us behind the beat, Oath explains “when putting together The Prelude to a Sunset EP, I had a certain vibe I wanted to do within the beats. I used to go to this spot on the beachfront and chill out, and listen to some music looking out at the sea watching the sunset. It was something I would do every so often just to collect my thoughts and relax out a bit. In a way i guess that vibe just rubbed off into the music i was listening to at the time and the samples I was choosing. My ideas started to come together at this point. So i guess i would say that my inspiration comes from the sun and the sea”.
This is mindscape music at its best – ethereal, minimalistic, subtlety tuneful, and easy on the ears. Tastefully laying chopped up sci fi slices over low pass piano rolls, the melancholic melody unfolds gracefully and the metronome is carried by one of the hardest snare snaps placed on a Soundcloud page. Coming across like a leftover find from the Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia sessions, the SP1200 inspired ‘Dreams’ tiptoes on the fine kaleidoscopic line between joyful and jaded.
Renowned for its grimey texture and ability to simulate the “warmth” of vinyl recordings, the SP1200 sampler (manfactured by Emu Systems) holds a legendary status and is the arsenal of many hip hop purists, Oath included. Taking us behind his production process, Oath explains “I had the SP1200 hooked up to an akai sampler and was triggering it via the SP. The SP1200 is a classic sampler, I won’t go too into depth with it as I’m sure most people already have heard about it enough, but it is very limited so it makes the process of betaking becomes quite creative as you only have up to 10 seconds of sample time total”. With that in mind, in terms of his sample game, Oath explains “I feel that any medium is fine to sample, it does not really matter if you sampled a record from 1973 or if you sampled a kookaburra call outdoors in some national park. Make it dope!” He continues “I never really had any set plan with making music, I just wait for the mood to strike and switch on the sampler. It’s always good to have a fresh stack of records too. Once i get some drums prepared or i find a certain sound or groove.. then i can begin to construct it all together”.
Age of Aquarius [ft Lewis Parker]
Aquarius so the flow is in the bloodline – Oath takes the ears on an exhilarating & pulsating ride through murky spaghetti western waters, filled with waves of odd tension and sustained melancholic energy. An added bonus for The Prelude for a Sunset vinyl release, UK emcee Lewis Parker blesses the instrumental with pointed lines “I watch the sunset – head moving with the drumset – down and out – looking unkept” that help form intexualising narratives througout the track that heightens with repeated exposure.
With ‘The Prelude for a Sunset’ vinyl near impossible to track down in todays market (limited to a run of 300), Beatdust pressed Oath for information in regards to his pressing infomation. “I had the help of a good friend and label owner (Little Wonder Productions) Doc Felix.” notes Oath. “He is great at what he does so it was quite smooth overall. It was worth it 100%. We had a lot of European and USA orders come in so that was something big for us. Even a year down the track and all the copies sold, we still got hit up for a copy here and there by people across the way which was mad cool. The vinyl side of things can be very expensive but it is something special, it is a physical copy that you can take home and look at, read and play on your turntable like the good old days. An mp3 does not really carry much meaning to it”
‘Age of Aquarius’ offers a deep and seemingly bottomless chasm of foreboding extravagance that the lister can either dip their feet or full body float in. Filled with plenty of reverb drenched bass , wailing strings, and entransed vocals this beat is a must listen for fans of the glorious melodrama of UK hip hop, foreboding beats or oater scores.
Day #23: Het Haing Cng Oldwr
From dreamlike stillness to tranquil flirtations, with 2wenty8ightdays Oath finds new paths and branches of sonic exploration. “I wasn’t really going for any type of mood with this [one beat everyday for a month] goal I set, it was just “Do what I got to do each day, come home, hit the room and put on records until something hit me” explaines Oath. “I chopped the drums, programed them and then work the riffs over the top. After that I would just multi track out the beat to pro tools and do some final adjustments to it before I finished each night”. With ‘Night 23 – Het Haing Cng Oldwr’, Oath brings out his Ivan Milat game and murders the backpacker style.
‘Het Haing Cng Oldwr’ contains layers of seductive widely spread pads, swirling lush rhodes inspired samples and blossoming penetrating melodies. Utilizing great dynamic range variations, the drums are crisp and clean, the open high hat is the creamy centerpiece and penetrates the skull like psychology. This is retro, reflective and refreshing lemonade sippin music for anyone with a taste for timeless nostalgia.
Reflecting on the process, Oath tells BeatDust “by the 10th day I was feeling quite tired. I was posting them each night up onto my soundcloud page for people to check out, it was great to see alot of people were actually waiting each night to hear the next one. That in itself made me see it all the way to the end! It really inspired me and let me know in my heart that failure was not an option. So a big thank you is in order for those who tuned in and followed the process from start to end!”.
Peace to Oath for helping out with this piece. Keep in touch with him on his Twitter & Facebook page. Pick up Oath’s 2wenty8ightdays out now on Little Wonder Productions and his bandcamp page. Vintage heads cop that limited cassette before it sells out.