Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Browsing: Free stuff on Soundcloud … Part One: Willow Beats

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on Soundcloud recently. Exploring different genres, listening to remixes, learning what’s apparently “hot” and what’s not. I love nothing better than scrolling through the tracks on offer, being selective, keeping a beady eye out for the free download option (most files at good quality 320kbps). Generally the site is a breeze to use and has terrific search functions. I tend to release the little speech bubble on most tracks to instantly rid myself of the comments (not unlike those pesky ads on Youtube); there’s only so many times you can read the words “sick track” and other similarly generic or inane comments before a small ball of vomit starts to form in the back of your throat (perhaps that’s just you? – Ed). But the download function is straightforward enough and the site’s vast range of active contributors means there’s always something fresh and interesting to catch the ear. Almost too much, in fact.

So concentrating on Soundcloud first and foremost, I thought it might be fun to document a few of these discoveries over a series of posts (as and when). Whether the artists/producers are signed, unsigned, or merely a gifted bedroom boffin, I’ll try to use this space to help put their work out there. I’ll stick to works that many of us would have been only too keen to fork out real cash money for not so very long ago … ah, the musical joys of the interweb.

Starting with … Willow Beats

One particularly observant Facebook friend turned me on to Willow Beats today, announcing them as “kids from Melbourne” …  before doing the linky love thing to hook me up with the Willow Beats Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages (see links below) – and a free download of the self-titled March 2012 five track “EP” release. 

Willow Beats is effectively Narayana Johnson, a 23-year-old Melbourne-schooled producer with a ton of compositional talent. Johnson’s default setting appears to be steppy electronica – almost glitchy in nature at times – and while the EP reveals a rather large size nine placed firmly in the dreamy ambient camp, there’s a genuinely rich dubstep feel to the whole thing.

Johnson’s collaborator on the EP is the honey voiced Kalyani Ellis, whose nonchalant other-worldly approach to the art of vocals blends perfectly with Johnson’s dark bass driven vibes. The result is something instantly delicious and accessible.

All five tracks on the Willow Beats EP are worth checking out ... and hey, it’s all free and accounted for!

Here’s Willow Beats claiming a lovely slice of Bowie’s eternal classic ‘Space Oddity’:

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