As we settle into 2012, it's hard not to notice how much time we all spend in front of a computer. Whether at work, home, in transit, or even when being "social" (smart phones are computers, folks), it's all starting to resemble some depressingly benign prequel to The Matrix. Plugged in on an hourly basis, it's no wonder much of the music we consume is also starting to sound depressed, detached, and frankly, homogenized to the point that DAW presets are an acceptable choice of instrument.
If this sounds bleak to you, well, it just sounds kind of boring to me. Thankfully, there are artists stepping outside the bounds of the first and third measure of a 4 bar loop, utilizing interesting life experiences outside the screen to inspire their creations and their sounds. Dave Huismans' new EP isn't a revelation, but a decidely different twist on the same game we're all playing. Found sound samples, stepped beats, dabs of sub-bass, and swathes of warm chord progressions are all present, but the way they're presented is what makes this release that much more enticing than your average R&B bootleg.
Where "Solitary Sheepbell" moves through lushly recorded tones, tinkling forebodingly as we wander through the soukhs in Amman, "Desert Lament" snaps into place with rigid, stomping kicks that seem to be struggling up and down the dunes, sinking into the sand as the sun reaches its apex. This second track washes over the listener upon the first few listens, but pay close attention to the wafting strings, the marketplace ramblings, and how no 8 bars are identical to the next. A heat-stroked mirage of a 2-step track, one that seems like it could go on for days.
"Jerash Herwaken" is an interesting excursion into the heart of the Jordanian capital, filled with schoolyard and street preacher samples swirling over clipped kettle drums. A traipse down the dark alleys, acting as more of a bridge between the first half of the EP and its conclusion. "Nocturnal Drummers" is the finale, and is one of the finest 2562 tracks to date. All the computer editing and swing settings in the world wouldn't be able to capture the pituitary-throbbing trance those drum samples have over the listener; the bass that takes hold midway through adds to this "in-the-circle" effect of the percussion. A breathtaking study in sample-restraint and rhythmic intuition, find a quiet place for this one.
Time and time again, Huismans' seems to take his template to new places, subtle changes to an already distinct and engaging sound. A producer does not need to rewrite the rulebook to be original, and with the Air Jordan EP, 2562 offers a beacon of legitimacy for those willing to step outside the confines of their bedroom, even if it's only for a week or two.