ELAQUENT with Knxwledge and Sunclef at Wrongbar, Thursday, April 26. Rating: NNN
Still nascent compared to the profitable, now-nightly party scene in L.A., Toronto's community of innovative hip-hop indebted, psychedelic-minded beat makers continues to grow and move in new directions.
Thursday night at Wrongbar, what was billed as the album release party for Elaquent's The Scenic Route, proved more a chill, communal showcase of who got next - both in the city and beyond.
A rap-specked, soul-heavy surprise set by Philly's Knxwledge (featuring a long-lost wall-slapper by Faith Evans) was as wily and light-hearted as local Drake-dead ringer Sunclef's flowering funk anthems played cerebral.
Still, the night was intended to celebrate the release of the third record by Guelph's Elaquent, a smiling teddy bear of a man who says he coiled most of The Scenic Route's warm, jazzy beats around Palm Tree Shit - a twinkling, pastel-hued paean to L.A., where the song was recorded.
Triggering samples live on an SP-404, Elaquent ran through old and new: from a remix of Slakah the Beatchild's D.A.N.C.E. to the clacking funk of Montreal Poutine and Carpe Diem.
Tipping to the anything-goes ease of the scene, the night's highlight was a virtual collaboration manifesting in a real-life jam session: horn player Octavio Santos, featured on the record, clambered on stage to trill laidback flourishes over Elaquent's neck-snapping drums.