Updated: Jun 9, 2019
What is Trip-hop?
No, seriously…. What is Trip-Hop?
It seems like every style of music that cannot fit into the majors (Rock, Hip-Hop/R&B, EDM, Pop, Jazz/Blues, Classical, etc.) gets classified by independent beat-makers as “Trip-Hop. It is as free of form as progressive jazz. Personally, when I think of Trip-Hop, I immediately think of Com Truise’s Galactic Melt, Mac Miller’s Faces, Moby’s Play, or anything ever played between shows on Adult Swim and Toonami.
I guess that in a nutshell, trip-hop is very subjective.
So how does one approach an artist like Hous3? This Canada-based producer has a way of experimenting with sounds - that can frankly be hit or miss. I have been following this artist for about a year or so; he came to my attention through the very subreddit that gave me my platform: r/BedroomBands. Hous3 came out of the gate with 4 beat tapes released to music stores and streaming platforms in 2018. Although his popularity has yet to take off, his growth from early unfocused projects is very apparent in his first - and properly titled - 2019 release, Fantastic Unfolding.
The second track Third Eye, with the strong vocals from FLORA, sets the tone for this short project: spacey synths boosted by the ambient, “reverb’d” vocals. However, many tracks made sudden shifts in energy - turning aforementioned synths and vocals to heavy drums and synths that nearly rival the gritty mixing and mastering of Kanye West’s Yeezus. The Unobserved seems to be Hous3’s hand at the EDM aesthetic. However, instead of repetitive, basic loops of synths and bass, Hous3 builds a soundscape that might be mixed at an early set at Electric Forest after your boy Jamie takes three of “something definitely illegal” and watches a big projection of Han Solo’s Kessel Run.
Hous3 pace slows a bit after the fourth track, Youth. The first listen leaves little to be desired, but the vocals and lyrics from Steven Clapham and Patrick Bradshaw seem repetitive and stale after a few listens. The opening guitar riffs of Flying had my curiosity, but the sub bass grabbed my attention. With the energy of the album at an already high level, Hous3 slows things down with an interlude that gives the listener a “hopelessly lost in space, but I feel fine” vibe. Unfortunately, the listener is ultimately lost on the following track, I Sing to You. Personally speaking, Steven Clapham vocals leave much to be desired. Something about the mixing (and possibly lack of reverb) makes the track seem out of place and demo quality. The final few tracks were definitely a step back to the inconsistent 2018 projects by Hous3.
That is, until closing track.
Hous3 ties a nice bow on this gift of a project with the final track, Untold Glory. The synths are simply heavenly and atmospheric.
Bottom line: Hous3 does not overcomplicate the arrangements and allows the listener to sit back a absorb the moment. Meditators and fans of "lo-fi beats to study to” will definitely NEED to add the deep cuts to their playlist.
The Best: Between Time, Third Eye, Flying, Untold Glory
The So-So: Youth, The Unobserved
The Meh: I Sing to You
7.5/10 for the first listen
7/10 for the deep listen
Llama Ruckus is an aspiring songwriter and producer from Atlanta, Georgia. His primarily genre is trip-hop; blends of elements from funk, surf rock, chillwave, blues, synthpop, and psychedelic rock/jazz..