Guelph beatsmith Elaquent has been getting attention over the last couple of years for his understated instrumental hip-hop, which sits somewhere between traditional boom-bap vibes and more contemporary left-field sounds. On his new eight-song EP, he continues to explore themes familiar to fans of his 2012 debut LP, The Scenic Route, with some minor refinements.
This time around the drums are less wonky, but the intentionally sloppy bits that remain seem to stand out more starkly, which is occasionally distracting - or maybe the novelty of unquantized electronic drums is just wearing off. On the other hand, his keyboard melodies and slinky synth lines feel sexier and smoother, and give a futuristic edge that counters his throwback tendencies. Instrumental hip-hop often sounds too loungey, but Elaquent balances that chill-out compilation feel with enough weirdness to keep things interesting.
Top track: Alone At Last
Elaquent plays the Garrison February 16.