ANKO are a duo of music writer/producers from Paris, France who originally met writing and producing for TV shows. It wasn’t long, apparently, that Nicolas Ferran and Antonie F Martin discovered that they had common interests in style and composition, so they formed ANKO shortly after meeting. Their first EP called Waved is a manifestation of that shared vision which seems, among other things, to be a return to analog performances of trip hop style, screwed together with electronic composition and production. To put it more succinctly, they’ve gone back to the roots of trip hop.
Trip hop has been synonymous with electronic music from the jump, but when originators like Thievery Corporation, Portishead and Morcheeba started, the genre was more rooted int he jazz scene. In fact, Thievery Corporation are still largely analog, with their live performances featuring a full compliment of horns, an upright bass and even a full drum kit. The rub in these outfits is that everything is composed and put together electronically, with a few synthesized embellishments for fun. It’s mutated over the years with artist like Tricky fully plugging in and taking trip hop directly to the feet of EDM, but no matter what the jazz, blues and funk remain.
This jazz-and-analog-based feel is what Ferran and Martin aim to capture with Waved, and they seem to have done so by way of some unconventional methods. Most notable aside from all of the parts of each track being performed on analog instruments is the composition style is clearly done like classical music. The duo have scored this work as though working with an orchestra which technically they have. All the parts for each instrument are layered on top of each other just like a classical or even a film or television score. This makes sense considering how the two met not to mention the fact Ferran and Martin are clearly classically trained.
The classical/scoring composition style is most obvious, not surprisingly, during the more orchestral parts of each track. The EP’s opener “Opale,” for example, has a string and horn melody throughout that it obviously scored classically. This is not to say, however, that there isn’t a good hit of EDM and hip hop funk and flavor in ANKO’s work, and indeed in each track. “Fleur” has the most electronic-sounding base beat as well as the most hip hop flavor to it. “May” and “Rain,” meanwhile, look again to trip hop’s jazz roots for their chill and soulful melodies.
All of the tracks on Waved have all of the above elements in some form, mixed together in different measures and put together in this clean, well-composed EP to make it a solid first effort from the duo. ANKO both channel the genius of the roots of trip hop and make it their own with their impeccable performance, composition and production. It’s a thoroughly modern reminder of what trip hop can be and definitely something special for EDM fans who understand how diverse and complex dance music can really be.