The smooth, soulful sounds of new Swiss (that’s right, Swiss) hip hop duo Conscious Presence are likely going to be a big hit this summer. Consisting of rapper The Soul Seeker and DJ/Producer Sound-Sage, Conscious Presence have taken the underground hip hop trend of incorporating vintage funk and soul sounds into hip hop to another level with their first single “Divine” of their upcoming self-titled album.
Recorded at their label Satori Records’s studio, “Divine” and the rest of the double album due out this week were recorded directly onto a vintage tape machine. This means that each track was done in one take, which is pretty tough considering that Soul Seeker’s lyrics had to line up perfectly with Sound-Sage’s scratching and beats. They didn’t even do this stuff in one take in the 70s and 80s, when these recording techniques were largely in practice.
The nerve-wracking labor that went into recording has definitely produced a superior product, and this is evident on “Divine,” the video for which also looks like it was done in one take. Style-wise, the music on this track is smooth but pointed, with lots of funk and soul samples comprising the main melodic track. The jazzy beat along with these samples and the urban sound samples at the end of each phrase create a track that is definitely evocative of 90s underground hip hop. They also flow well with Soul Seeker’s vocal and lyrical style. His vox are also smooth and jazzy with a hard edge and his lyrics are expansive and spiritually-oriented, as both the title of the track and the duo’s name suggest.
The resurgence of “conscious rap” in the style of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and KRD-One is definitely a welcome respite from the eye roll-inducing drug-addled mumble rap that seems to be dominating pop music lately. Acts like Conscious Presence are taking it to the next level with both technique and content, fighting the good fight in reminding fans what hip hop can and should be about. EDM and hip hop fans alike should keep their eyes on Conscious Presence to remember that music is meant to lift humanity up and bring us closer to the “Divine.” We also may get some great remixes out of it.
Conscious Presence’s debut self-titled double album is out today and can be purchased on their Bandcamp page, with an option to buy a limited edition vinyl copy as well. Check out Satori Record’s website for other purchase and streaming options available shortly.