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ÉchangeÉquivalent: ‘DIVERSITY’ -A Joy To The Ears

ÉchangeÉquivalent has been making music for about 3 -4 years. He began with FL Studio and it’s been 1 year a half that he has been using Logic. ÉchangeÉquivalent has also been playing the drums for three years, while he has self-taught himself the guitar and little piano. ÉchangeÉquivalent is also preparing to go to the Tech Music School of London next year for the “Music Production” course, in order to further develop his skills.

ÉchangeÉquivalent says that his interest in music started when he was around 10 or eleven years old. “I was zapping TV and I froze when I saw the Live of Late Registration by Kanye West. The song was Heard em Say. Then Kanye brought me to some good music, especially John Legend and Common. From Common I moved on to JayDilla, who in turn lead me to Old School Hip-Hop /Abstract Hip-Hop. Thanks to Hip-hop samples, I was taken to Soul (Sly and the Family Stone, The Temptations and Bill Withers etc.), then to Jazz (Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Yusef Latef and Ahmad Jamal), from there it was on towards funk and so on.”

“It was then that I discovered TripHop with Nujabes, Jazztronik, Uyama Hiroto, and that experience was really intense. And now I’m discovering electro!” continues ÉchangeÉquivalent.

In fact the mixtape DIVERSITY has all these elements thrown in, to complete a work that is obviously more eclectic than cohesive. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, the first thing to do when approaching this mixtape is to forget about trip-hop and all the associations it carries. ÉchangeÉquivalent’s drums stay far away from a hip-hop swagger; rather than providing a backbone; these diverse rhythms stay on the edge with the rest of the music and add another ominous layer to the mix.

ÉchangeÉquivalent doesn’t add bass-driven undercurrents for cheap thrills; instead, he punches up the compression and keeps the sound trebly and brittle, giving the impression that everything is flying right at you even when the songs seem to be standing still. Indeed, the album wields an odd magnetic power that draws the listener into its disorienting abyss.

On DIVERSITY ÉchangeÉquivalent brings on the subdued beats, lush cinematic arrangements, voice loops, synth samples and real instruments, or rather everything that everyone loves about Trip-hop!

I won’t lie to you though. This album isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea. There is a lot going on here, and if you prefer your music to be simple and straight-forward, this at times will seem like an impenetrable mesh wall to you. But for those who enjoy their sounds a little more complex, this is a joy to the ears, with there always being something new to pull out of the mix.

DIVERSITY is haunting, arresting, at times beautiful and at other times scary, but always courageous in its approach. You have to listen to it more than once to get under its skin, and picking out individual tracks is not suggested, as this album should be enjoyed in its entirety. Though I personally did appreciate the melodic tracks like “Can’t Move”, “Fly” and “Goodnight” a touch more than the others.

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