There is something instantly recognizable in the music of Canadian producer and beat-maker Elaquent off his latest record. You can’t put your finger on it. It’s there in the super-melodic, slightly glitchy beats reminiscent of J Dilla. It’s there in the silky smooth, jazzy sounds reminiscent of Q-Tip’s solo work and with A Tribe Called Quest. It’s there in the lush tones reminiscent of the back-drops for so many delicious, warm 90s’ and 00s’ era neo-soul tracks.
But, the trick and skill of this record is that for all of this familiarity, it still sounds distinct. For all of the evident influences, it sounds singular and fresh. It’s not tying to drift out of it’s lane — staying true to a hushed tone and relaxed vibe rife with slow, syrupy beats — but there are too many textures, layers, and innovative touches for it to fade into the background.
Elaquent dropped Blessing in Disguise on February 22 — his debut release for Mellow Music Group (also the label for L’Orange, who was previously featured on WtMM). He recorded the album largely during a trip to Jamaica; the slower, idyllic setting inspiring him out of a creative funk that had dogged him in his regular life up north. The record’s title is a nod to the stubborn struggles of the creative process and, as Elaquent himself says, to failure often serving as the best path for growth.
If only the results of my failures came out sounding like this:
Grab a bourbon, take a seat, relax into this album, and learn yourself some more about Elaquent.