Published Mar 04, 2020In certain circles, the phrase "beat tape" conjures up simple, endless, repetitive, mind-numbing rhythms that do little to even locate the imagination, never mind provide some sort of a spark. This is not the fault of the genre, but rather the saturation of content created by folks armed with software, but lacking knowledge in, say, music or music theory (or even what a tape is).
So to label Saroos's newest effort as a beat tape would certainly not do it justice, because it is simply too intelligent to subscribe to such notions.
True, OLU, which stands for Off Label Use and refers to using prescriptions above and beyond their recommended dosages, uses beats, samples and musical cut-outs to form the basis of the tracks. But the album plays more like a sound-art collage with beats, rather than a beat tape. There is a wide range of sonic textures, varying tempos and original timbres. In fact, no sound is ever repeated after the track finishes, which makes OLU more about focused composition. The album also flows strikingly well, whether in order or randomly.
Praise to the German trio of Florian Zimmer, Christoph Brandner and Max Punktezahl for creating an intelligent beat tape that's akin to a seemingly endless night market that offers a little of everything with an overabundance of nothing. Oh, and if you are looking for the carousel, you can find it sans beat on "Whirligig." (Alien Transistor)