This time of year always brings with it a certain set of feelings and vibes incomparable to the rest. Whether or not you’re still in school, the months leading up to Spring become a palpable test of your endurance and stamina. The winter’s cold and semester’s end push you to confront the harsh monotony of the daily grind and grapple with forces that beg you to call it quits and retreat into your bed. Maybe it’s our primal, innate desire for hibernation or simply the inescapable reflections we encounter of the past year’s workload and exhausting uphill battle that still lies ahead. Regardless, when Spring hits and the number of weeks until warm weather and freedom can finally be measured and counted down, a sense of reawakened vitality and excitement of your victory over the drudgery emerges with vigor and gusto.
This transition to liberation, however, is unable to be fully realized without a proper acknowledgment and examination of the struggle you’ve left behind. In order to completely experience and immerse yourself in the new season and state of mind, one must always have the alternative to compare it to. It is for this reason that I’m so astounded by the ability of Courteous Family‘s latest compilation to capture this feeling in such vivid and wholesome detail. Based in Los Angeles, the home to constant, winter-less heat and tropical weather, this collective has somehow managed to expertly produce a soundtrack portraying the change of seasons and subsequent shift in mentality. Home to such acts as Tsuruda, Huxley Anne, Woolymammoth, Noer the Boy, and CastMusic, Courteous Family’s line up is anything but stale. Centered around a style that infuses dance music with hip hop, trap, jazz, and soul, they are able to foster a sense of fond nostalgia and unfamiliar novelty simultaneously.
Courteous Family is a group of artists who come together to learn from one another, collaborate, and ultimately progress each individual in their own trade. We know the value of true and honest self expression in creating timeless art, so we focus on the growth and development of our talented team of artists.
Today, the collective released their second in a (hopefully) ongoing series of compilations, aptly titled “Bloom“. Featuring tracks from nine of their most talented artists, this playlist will keep you blissful and pensive at the same time. Whether you’re finally getting to lay back at the beach, traveling home for the summer, or still finishing up your work during these last few weeks, “Bloom” will inspire and carry you into the best part of the year.
First on the list is Tsuruda’s “Optimo Peach Flavor“. Complemented by grainy, diverse percussion and cascading flutes, the underlying vocal samples immediately set you to cruise control on LA’s sunbathed 101 freeway. You won’t make it ten seconds without starting the inevitable neck bob, as sharp bells and wiggly background synths enter the picture and takeover the sonic realm.
At the number four spot is a gorgeously sinister, jazz-inspired track by Bertholet titled “Diner“. A heavy side-chain dominates the rhythm while deep stings of brass and low piano keys serve to offset the playfully menacing vocals above. A crackling vinyl distortion sits behind the mix, making the entire track sound antique and pristine.
Non Drifter‘s addition comes in the form of a deadly, Nujabes-esque beat accompanied by pitched down rap verses and a bass that’ll have you bumping. “Posted” features minimal percussion and an independent jazz guitar loop that makes every downbeat fall with satisfying weight. Summertime in Los Angeles couldn’t be captured more perfectly than in this track, take it from a native.
One of my favorites on the compilation is CastMusic’s “YAKYAKYAKYAK“. Focusing the spotlight on the classic Kendrick vocals from “m.A.A.d City“, this track truly introduces the heat. The diversity and creative avenues this song takes are constant and original. Chopped vocals, beatboxing, wonderfully invasive cowbells, and sultry jazz licks keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its length. “YAKYAKYAKYAK” is one to remember, and will most definitely stack up plays on your iPod before you know it.
It wouldn’t be a Courteous Family release without some grime and dirt to finish off the compilation. Noer the Boy‘s track “Get Down On The Floor” should come with a required shower afterwards. Beginning with crunchy, distorted Fergie lyrics and a sprinkler of hi hats, this track quickly evolves into a mind-boggling concoction of dynamic percussive elements and complex arrangement that warrants inclusion in a Mr. Carmack set. With bubbly, muted synths and a rhythm that won’t wait for you to figure it out, it’s best to throw elbows first and save the questions for later.
During the upcoming months, Courteous Family hopes to explore art from all different mediums and continue to grow and develop their name. With a style so innovative and a roster of such exquisite, soulful talent, it seems they are destined to achieve whatever they set out to do. Make sure to keep up with their Facebook page, and look forward to their first ever live shows coming soon to San Francisco and Los Angeles.