There’s a style of minimalist pop music that’s singed at it’s edges with hip hop or rnb, of a kind that can be found successfully being paraded by the British artists, Jai Paul or James Blake. There’s a steamy undertone infused into their music, and sexuality is a regular bold overtone that’s found inside the themes of hip hop and rnb. The thing is Americans can place sex into their music better than us Brits. That’s obviously a generalisation and it would be weak of us to push out the examples of Rod Stewart or Tom Jones as examples of how tacky we manage to make it, as it would to talk of Barry White as a US sample, but we think there’s an underlying reason behind our differences. Americans aren’t so quick to patronise, or as willing to indulge in a spot of self-deprecation as we are. At the mere mention of sex we can be seen to either blush or fear mockery, where as our States-side cousins can shout about it. Ultimately it’s about confidence or fearlessness. Can you imagine Snoop Dogg as an English artist? No, that’d just be silly, right?
Today’s recommendation delivers a similar brand of minimalist pop music, that’s marinated in rnb and its hot, wet sheets of sexuality, but this guy is thankfully from Los Angeles. Danny Choi is better known as Ghost Loft and his understated hip hop is a masterclass in downplayed confidence. His music isn’t so much ‘fuck pop’, more it seduces the listener by making subtle love to your ears. It’s a less-is-more-tease that has the ability to remove the knickers of anyone within fifty yards. The thing is, not only is this the kind of music that Americans seem to do better, with lyrics that explain what he’s going to do to the woman waiting on his mattress before he proceeds to actually do it to her, but we can’t help but imagine that Americans could also utilise the songs to better effect. Where they wouldn’t blink at the idea of this music sound-tracking their steamy fumble, slipping the music on the bedroom stereo to get into the mood, yet us Brits would find it hard to maintain a straight face, let alone an erection.
This is particularly evident with his tune, Slowdowntime, with impossible lines like “ooh baby, you slow down time“, which should have us running for the exit, yet it suits the throbbed pace and astral synths that whirl around it in a heady concoction. We really shouldn’t take this any more seriously than something by Usher, but it’s all delivered in such a sophisticated space that you can’t write it off. It’s the kind of hot, steamy love song that you would imagine is designed for making love to, but if you slipped this on prior to getting on with the proverbial it’s actually you that would be being ushered – right out of the room, faster than you can gather up your clothing. This is more likely to get you banned from the bedroom, a kind of sexual red card that carries with it a minimum three-game ban. However, it’s perhaps our Britishness that has us blushing, rather than any indictment on his music. We can’t take it seriously because we’re embarrassed, not because it lacks integrity. Quite the opposite, the music is very ace indeed.
The track, Blow, caused such a stir, that one glance at Hype Machine shows us that 29 music blogs gave it coverage in the last six weeks alone, and that’s just the blogs that are registered with Hype Machine – hot indeed. This is an artist very much having the lights turned up, not down, with every release he delivers. Blow is once again another piece of horny music, opening with heavy breathing samples that continue in echoed drifts in the background throughout. It has a slower pace, showing that this artist has staying power, range and ideas for when he’s making love; sorry we meant making music. However, we consider his finest piece of music to date to be the tune, Seconds – a theme that might sound better suited to the staying power of the UK bedroom scene. The minimal beats may at first seen mean, but it’s taught snare and nodding bass drum are ultra-satisfying. The samples are perfectly placed, treated with precise hands, before Choi’s vocals breathe in and out to wonderful effect. The basslines flicker around the room, reminding us of the effortless slick line found backing up the tune, Keep The Lights On, by Wave Machines.
Ghost Loft remains unsigned, for now, and Choi confirmed to us that he is waiting to design more music before he sets out on any live shows, so these three tunes, plus a wonderful remix of a JJ tune, Beautiful Life, are the only things currently available. With that re-edit he adds more oxygen to a tune already rushing with air, but he slows the rate down, so where the original takes a couple of minutes to climax, Ghost Loft chooses to take his time. Of course he does. JJ are a Scandinavian group making glacial pop and in many ways there is a lot that’s shared with Ghost Loft, with the levels of drift and echo that they both apply, plus vocals that never fully punctuate the music, but instead Choi decides to melt the ice into steam by heating things up. He’s informed us that he’s planning an EP before the year is out, so hopefully we will see that reach the light soon, so we can use it to immediately turn those same lights off again. Well, we say “we”, but as we know the English won’t be able to utilise it in the bedroom at all. If nothing else, this smooth, sexually-confident music can highlight how uptight we are on these isles, always willing to patronise, so relax those shoulders people and let the Americans show you how there’s no shame in getting in the mood. (MB)
GHOST LOFT – SECONDS
GHOST LOFT – SLOWDOWNTIME