alexis davis – 3

Alexis Davis - 3 coverI want to start off by thanking the Expansions Collective for dropping this promo in our inbox. Of course we always feel blessed by all the promo’s we get, no matter who sends it or whether it fits the site. But when I read that Alexis Davis isn’t actually one guy but 4 of my favorite artists, that download couldn’t finish fast enough.


The EP “3″ by Alexis Davis is actually what you get when Replife, Mecca:83 (aka Rise), Spinnerty and Simon S. (of Break Reform) team up: Simply put, jazz-hop in its purest form. For once I won’t spread out the accomplishments each artist has put to his name, because the background info will not add any extra’s to this amazingly chilled but groovy release.


Samples, head-nodding drums, little breaks, top-played instruments and laid-back conscious styled raps are key on this EP. Sporting 3 producers and 1 MC, who often co-produces the tracks he spits on, the release is guaranteed to be more than just some guy rapping over a looped hip hop beat. Although a lot of guys label their tracks jazz-hop just because of the 70s sample usage, “3″ has earned the right to be cataloged under the genre that even old-school jazz musicians themselves give praise to.


For once the first track Intro is really an introduction to the EP. In under a minute you’ll be presented with what the next five tracks will be. A smooth feelgood sample accompanied by background strings over a minimal but grooving kick-snare beat, while the members are introduced by a dark silky female voice in a spoken-word kind of way. On the 2nd track Mecca Replife joins in and commands us to “no matter where you are, lean back”. As if the drums didn’t already made us do that. The simple synths and keys are instantly effective when the beat drops in, and choir-like aaaaah background fills up that space that the minimalism set free.


The title track 3 starts off with a well-known but luckily never over-used bassline plus brushes cut, but any expectation of a gritty sample-track are quickly faded away when the horns and piano join the beat. Replife’s voice still lays easy on the ears and is as complementary on track as it will be throughout the EP.  Everything flows so smooth that overlooking all the little variations and additions will only be apparent when listening to the tracks on repeat. On The Lift the collective cashes in on the expected LFO filtered backdrop, which is again complimented by nice soft synths and sparkling keys.


After 4 tracks of kick-snare beats it’s time for a little switch, and if I’m not mistaken it must be Spinnerty who probably laid the basis for this little interlude which has a more breakbeat’ish feel to it. The woman of the intro returns with a profound message about feelings which is presented as a brief conversation between two contemplating men. Topping off the release, the Alexis Davis Theme provides that 4/4-based instrumental groove track that has crept into the genre over the years. Lovely.


Each of the collaborating artists have earned their stripes in the music long ago, but together they shine even brighter in this US/UK collaboration. Being released on this grey NL day, I will never look at Friday the 13th as a day of bad luck, but rather as a day that can bring a smile no matter what. Get the digital release for £3 or the physical for £6 here and follow the group on Facebook here. A little something something about the release by each of the participants can be found in the Youtube clip below, and you can check out the track 3 on the Soundcloud player.