living in a shell – earthlings [download]
After slowly oozing into the music scene during the 90′s and peaking hard in the early 2000′s, downtempo suddenly disappeared, only leaving traces of its existence through the stripped-down version we know as lounge. The lack of interest isn’t really hard to explain: the music is instrumental and intense, the mood usually tends to be dark or melancholic and the basic tempo is too low to really dance to. Because of the mood element downtempo isn’t appreciated in social settings, which makes it seem it’s only suitable as a soundtrack for late night loners.
The above description might not be really inviting, but it actually points out the setting where downtempo is the preferred choice of music: intimacy. There’s no better music to put on after dimming the lights, cracking open a bottle of wine and having a nice one-on-one with someone special. It immediately sets the mood, there are no distracting lyrics and the tempo supplies a laid-back atmosphere.
Although it has, and always will be, one of my favorite listening genre’s, over the last year or so my collection has been gathering dust for no apparent reason. But when I put on Living In A Shell‘s 7-track album called “Earthlings” it instantly took me on a trip through all the candlelight evenings I spent after discovering the style an odd 15 years ago.
With the introduction out of the way, this release is 30mins of hardcore oldschool downtempo. A sluggish pace driven by thick sampled drums, a collage of thrown together jazzy samples from various sources, movie’esque vocal cuts and an overall wide and warm sound. As with most sample-based music loops are key, but as opposed to beat-tapes downtempo features a way more intricate composition and on “Earthlings” that element is followed by the letter.