Seeing a new release from Scottish producer Daryl Donald put a smile on my face. I knew Id be in the mood for more indulgent, mellow Hip Hop instrumentals. With this sophomore record he really hits home with the DJ Shadow vibes, one of the first artists to make craft and elevate the instrumental side of Hip Hop music. Behold The Spirit is a collection of short beats and tidbits, roughly two minutes each, that establish meditative vibes fit for mellowing, soaking in the sun and enjoying a soft breeze.
Its got summery vibes that aren't overtly pronounced, everything is a craft of soft measures and subtle sample inclusion that form a bigger picture. Its percussive lines are sharp and snappy but with just the right tempo to feel at ease and slightly lethargic. A couple arrangements may give an impression of a stripped back boom bap groove however the keen kicks and snares are always softened by the surrounding samples, often layering ambiguous airy synth without distinct melodies. Many vocal snippets are deployed ambiguously with helpings of dreamy reverberation, furthering the soothing vibes that feed into its distinct atmosphere.
The albums structure is a bit lack luster in its linear design. Some beats have build ups but mostly the songs fades in to existence and after its repetitions, fade out again. Its held together like glue by the consistency of tone, each beat is unique but they all hone in on the same urban summer vibrations. The track Banquet has a vocal pitch shifting sample that borders on Vapourwave akin to Macintosh Plus. However Its an isolated moment that borders overlap, would be interesting to hear it explored further.
Its after this track vocal samples become more prominent. The following Like A Brother has the voice of a man with a tone similar to AZ speaking thoughtful wisdom. The last three tracks bring a strong audible presence to the record as at closes out with the title track. It has a stunning speech on the power of meditation. A fitting end to a short collection of beats that all bring with them a consistent mellowing quality fit for reflection and thought, or the lack of it. Another strong record, looking forward to more!
Favorite Track: Behold The Spirit