One of the most timeless aspects of what keeps music so intrinsically tied to the human condition is just how effectively it helps us connect. It’s a universal language that transcends the inability of humans to interact with one another and even helps us do so across nations, all with a very clear paper trail of influences. Most recently, the finest example of such a phenomenon comes all the way from Sweden-native Slackin Beats and his latest in the form of ‘Drop The Kid’, an extended-play that delivers simultaneously all the highs of a club-rattling electronic album as it does all the heart of a Scandinavian folk ballad.
From omitting all percussion from it’s first minute to dropping into the heat of ‘Does He Bring Something’, it’s an EP that’s not shy about making you want to cry just as much as it wants to make you dance – a sentiment the Malmö based producer doesn’t want you to forget. “Learn from your own mistakes. Even though it’s hard to move on, you grow as a person” confirms Slackin. They are words that ring true as they are synchronised to beds of warm, glow-fi synths, creative stereo manipulation and organic textures topped by careful attention to timbral detail. It’s a lethal combination at times that will lure you in with light-handed seductiveness of a siren’s song before quite figuratively jumping out for the jugular.
One of the most ambitious aspects of the 5-piece journey on offer here just how many genres Slackin seems to have a finger in. Equally impressive then, is just how proficiently he seems to know his way around them. From busy 2-step garage beats to straight four-on-the-floor house rhythms, to even completely sparse sections such as the Connor Pearson–featuring opening track ‘Leave Me Out’, there is something of a quiet confidence that shines through the body of work.
Whether it’s the bubblegum-pop infusion of the titular, Charli XCX-reminiscent ‘Drop The Kid’ or the Bonobo-like glitched-out vocal chops and sampled instrumentation threaded between tracks like ‘Here Without You’ and EP closer ‘After What’, Slackin displays here so confidently a prolific understanding of so many styles that you’d be forgiven for expecting a superficialness of ‘Drop The Kid’s self-professed ‘experimental’ album description in lieu of the deep dive of a more seasoned artist playing within the comforts of his strengths that it is.
What is undeniable is just how thoroughly each song is fleshed out. It does, unfortunately, sting that much more then that such attention wasn’t given to the arc of the EP overall. Each track impressively contains the substance of a single that can stand in and of its own, but the potential to meaningfully relate or tie back into one another with true cohesion isn’t fully explored. Consequentially, ‘Drop The Kid’ is at best a sometimes too thematically varied to convey a purposeful idea of Slackin’s niche within the electronic space, and at worst a crisis of identity. It exposes what is truly a thought-provoking piece of work about vulnerability with the chink in the armour that is that for the majority of whom ‘Drop The Kid’ will be their introduction to Slackin Beats, it feels a little bit like an answer to a question that hasn’t yet been asked. Conversely, the execution is so well done that it’s still one that you’ll be grateful you did, and one you’ll have the good fortune to remember in your back pocket as something of a swiss army knife soundtrack in the battle through your next heartbreak.