We know, we know, late to the party as usual. With the first Pastry Beats showcase having debuted in Boston; very successfully, and some killer new episodes of the podcast on the way, it's finally time to focus on self-reflection. We've curated a beats showcase, made tons of new friends, eaten the most divine pastries, but most importantly, had our ears listening out for new music. Coincidentally, our good friends at AJ.Radio have just released their picks for a handful of favorite albums from 2017-- and while they have some respectable selections, we thought we should release something too. Here you'll find our recommendations for the most tasty, well baked, and appetite-filling albums and EPs from the past year. Without further ado, let's dig in on our first batch of pastries finest!
Allem Iversom - Without You
While many of you may know him as Harris Cole, this whiz-kid has released so much more than his 2016 debut EP; which was titled Pause. Recently, Harris has shifted focus and started turning heads with the new Allem Iversom project. The album Without You, which was released a few months ago, is mesmerizing with its solemness, yet plays with and retains a sense of bounciness throughout each track. You're truly given a new perspective into Harris' artistry, and may even come away with a profound love for this newer side-project. Feel free to read more about the album and get a bigger scoop of our thoughts from the album review here. Fortunately for his fans, we've been blessed with the announcement of a new Harris Cole EP, a collaboration project with an unnamed artist, and you guessed it, new Allem Iversom material. If there's anyone for you to be tuned into, it's this guy right here. Just do yourself a favor, and don't try to google his name.
Delicacies: "Your Eyes" / "Blue" / "Bonus Round"
Fla.mingo - Fla.mingo05
Although only recently discovered by us, Fla.mingo's most recent album, Fla.mingo05, is truly in a lane of its own amongst all of these recommendations. Playful and futuristic boom bap drums meet enchanting melodies that when put together, are an unexpected, yet obvious recipe for a blissful album. Tracks like "Floater" carry themselves with a resonating bass and soft plucks. However, the next second you'd be listening to "Debby", which is so grand and orchestral, that it belongs in the soundtrack of a film. The whole album will take you by surprise, especially with some of the guitar used throughout it; which we assume is original material from the self-proclaimed flawed mango. If you grooved with this album as much as we did, cop the limited edition vinyl here! Fla.mingo has also just released some new music titled "Nature vs. Nurture", so by all means, head on over and show it some love.
Delicacies: "Where Are You" / "Floater" / "Unwanted"
Flavors - Beat batch #1
Having had the pleasure to interview Flavors in the most recent Pastry Beats, along with his present of a stellar guest mix, it should come as no surprise that he earns a spot on this year's roundup. Along with being a cool cat to talk to, Flavors provided a mix that is untouchable and that he considered to have some of his best music to date; a good portion of which can be found in the album, Beat Batch #1. Although the tape seems far from a concept-driven official release, a lot of the tracks on there seem to standalone in quality and hold their own ground. As the title suggests, this truly feels like a batch of beats that you would come across on a playlist, while lacking structure, the album is as varied as any of these other suggestions could possibly get. If you're just looking for a collection of interesting, dreamy and smooth beats, this tape should do just the trick. Be sure to keep up with Flavors, as he has quite the amount of material he's planning on releasing; including a joint album with Sleepdealer, an artist that's highlighted a little more of a way's down.
Delicacies: "eventide" / "???."
Floridomi - flwrs
On April 3rd of 2017, the beats music scene in Boston was forever elevated by EMB28. We saw everything, ranging from Kansado's grooves to Tomppabeat's tasty cafe bumps, it was impossible for attendees to not be smiling. Little did we know about Floridomi, who took the stage for the first time and crushed his debut performance at this little niche cafe. This was around the time that flwrs came out, a minitape that we would best describe as being sunny and carefree, yet well-structured to the point where there's never a lack of cohesion. Each track seamlessly flows into another without a single beat missed-- and to be honest, we couldn't help but dance throughout the entire introduction. It's catchy, smooth, and delightful. The old school radio interludes are also clever. It makes us imagine Floridomi as an MF Doom-like character, specializing in prank calling taxi drivers and playing out bumps from his secret cassette tape stash. Although he doesn't quite do that, Floridomi does run his own radio show for HUB called Unheard Sounds. Catch him live every Thursday at 8PM(GMT) over at the radio stream here.
Delicacies: "delphenium" / "musas"
Oatmello - Breath
Within any career or hobby, there's always something to be said for good work ethic. Meet Oatmello, an artist that has only started having his name brought into the spotlight, yet has consistently released quality music. Throughout the past year, Oatmello has released a whopping seven projects, with each being unique in its atmosphere and story. In fact, the minimalist black and white art used for these albums and EPs are perfect in their visual depiction of the music. His beattape, Breath, stood out the most and we would recommend for anyone, regardless of music taste, to give it a proper listen. Walking through the first of Boston's winter snow while having this 10 minute EP play in the background was much more than just a delightful experience. The whole tape harmoniously flowed with whatever moving entities were around, and was coupled with a feeling of coziness and at times, solitude. The sounds Oatmello uses are always impressive, especially with the guitar and keys one upping each other throughout the album-- which really makes up for everything except "Breathe"; a track that's great regardless. Be sure to check out his Spotify or Soundcloud, as your feed will always be in store for some tranquil ear candy curated by Oatmello. We would also recommend following his Spotify playlist, mello-fi, which he consistently updates with the freshest of joints.
Delicacies: "and out" / "lofish"
Sleepdealer - Oasa
Delicacies: "life" / "flowers" / "peace"
After initially hearing his track "1974", you could only imagine how surprising the oasa album must have sounded. Sleepdealer's music can be found sprinkled throughout some of Spotify's most respectable playlists, with some gems dating back to his debut album, Puff Meditate; which was released in 2012. Since then he's released multiple albums and EPs, with some of his most impressive work being showcased throughout the past year. Sitting alongside his Homesick album and his joint project with nohidea, titled Nowhere, Sleepdealer brings us oasa-- an album with some of his his most admirable and well-developed work to date. You can be captivated by it with ease, and among most of his projects, it's one of the most enjoyable listen-throughs in a single sitting. While we think many artist's tapes start to feel repetitive in looping and overuse of samples, Sleep keeps his beats concise and constantly progressing. As much as we love the genre, Sleepdealer stands out for doing a superb job of gauging when a song has run its course-- only continuing to run a track to add more character and substance to it. Check out some more of his material here and stay tuned for that collaboration with flavors!
Tomppabeats - Arcade
Ironically, we hadn't really listened to Tomppa until a few months after his Arcade tour stop in our hometown of Boston. His performance was charming, upbeat, and pleasantly goofy; it even got to a point where the cafe reached capacity and people from outside could be seen jamming and looking in through the windows. Unbeknownst to us, the tour was seemingly done to accompany Tomppabeat's new Sophomore LP titled Arcade. Like many of his listeners, the Harbor LP was some of his first material on our plate; which has seen quite the rise in popularity throughout the past year. Looking back at Harbor and it's success, it's inspiring to see how far Tomppa has come with this newly featured and more matured sound. Whereas it used to feel like different samples were slightly warped and thrown together, this new record boasts some commendable melodies and sample chopping; especially with a lot of the vocals. For instance, "Smile", slows down a vocal to a gloomier style we've yet to hear from Tomppa. He creates a canvas that only becomes complete through peculiar sounding drums, flutes, and whatever else he deems fit for tinkering-- although, not always alone. Half of Arcade was a collaboration with fellow producer, Ohwell, whose contribution sounds apparent in a rather sudden and welcomed switch-up of pace. However, Tomppabeats' and Ohwell's collaborations similar to "Liketht" show a balanced medium between both artists, and in a way, end up coming full circle to the vibe from earlier in the project. This particular vinyl comes in a marble red color, accompanied by a special gift that could slightly change your listening experience. Overall, this album is a huge notch up for Tomppabeats, and it'll be great to see which direction he takes his music from here! Keep up with Tomppabeats at his Soundcloud here, or on his Spotify linked here.
Delicacies: "Reefknot" / "Between Friends" / "Moneypants"
William Crooks - if i don't live forever
If you don't know William Crooks by now, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the scene's faceless phantom. Willy has proven himself to continuously tackle making music in new and experimental ways, whether it be with his bone chilling cover of Kanye West's "Wolves", or the raw energy in his heavy hitting sad boy anthems; e.g. "sleep (vip)". About two years ago, we started getting hints of William Crook's initial interest in chiller beats, which was a joy to see fully explored on the i'll see you when i get there tape. Although that project was good, he came back bigger, badder, and more refined than ever with this recently released cassette tape, if i don't live forever. There isn't anyway around it, this new project has blown up and become what we at Pastry Beats consider to be a timeless gem. William Crooks features only one artist on this project, and it's the legendary Cabu; who you may remember from i'll see you when i get there. The two collaborated on one of our favorite tracks of the year, "wait for me", which you should probably listen to... like right now. No amount of elaboration can brace you for the colossal bass that carries the track, with Cabu having masterfully chopped up a flute sample for Crooks to go to town on. The rest is 100% Will, pouring his heart and soul out into a tape that completes the saga of "I'll see you when I get there, if I don't live forever." Although, the cassette is completely sold out, the album can still be streamed on Soundcloud and be bought to download off Bandcamp. Legends Never Die.
Delicacies: "winter, warm" / "wait for me" / "never can say goodbye"
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in or shown support for the Pastry Beats project. What started off as a goofy idea to eat pastries with friends and local talent has grown tremendously, and it's become something for me to truly take pride in. This new year holds a lot more episodes, special guests, and hopefully, another showcase within the Boston area. We'll have more details soon!
As always, keep it pastry.
- George P.