Broken beats and shattered plates define Galapagoose’s debut LP Commitments, in which organic clatter meets electric dreamscapes to form melancholic, fairytale soundtracks. Australian beat producer, Trent Gill, has created a consistent debut LP that accesses a nostalgic state-of-mind, like a home movie, filmed on Kodak Super 8 film of events that haven’t happened yet. It’s audible déjà vu, or more specifically déjà entendu.
The track “Rhizome” has a piano melody that is calming and specific. The same calming collection of notes seems to already exist in my memory. The only source I can contribute for this audible déjà vu is the soundtrack from the popular sandbox-building building game, Minecraft, of which I’ve spent many hours testing my abilities as pseudo architecture with digital blocks. This song also brings back familiar traits from Dan the Automator’s work on the Gorillaz self-titled debut album. And, while this album doesn’t fall in line with the 8-bit genre, it does seem to emulate it on this track and elsewhere on the album with sustaining, digital bitty drones.
Galapagoose also makes use of organic sounds. The effect creates tracks that breathe and never feel crowded with unnecessary noise. They add color to melodies and paint a visual picture that shows the listener what objects surround them. The sounds of clattering metal, snapping fingers offer pitchy tones that pair well with the low ends. At times Galapagoose incorporates the plastic twang of a classical guitar, most notable in the first 10 seconds of the album. The way Galapagoose transitions this guitar into the beat is flawless. The guitar is introduced again on the track “Attachments”, but here it’s distracting, drowned and inaccessible.
There’s about one-third of Commitments with less diversity. Tracks like “Attractions and Influence”, “ Multiplicities” and “Dark Rooms, Illuminate” are compiled of ethereal sustaining noise. These tracks provide a listening experience comparable to coming down. There is less focus on melody. Lazy spontaneity defines vocals and uncomfortable tension is created with osculating dynamics. It flavors the album with character and prevents the listener from feeling too comfortable.
Listen to the album from beginning to end in a pitch black room through a nice set of headphones and you might just come out the other end with a new perspective on the potential of beat albums.