Young and rising Seattle electronics duo Beat Connection (see how we're phasing out "chillwave" here?) have a new track floating around today, the B-side to their recent single "In the Water," called "Balearic Trunk Rhythm"--a name so straightforward, so truth-in-advertising transparent, that I thought we could just take a moment to break it down here. Shall we?
"Balearic": Of or pertaining to the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean. The Balearic island of Ibiza is popularly known as the birthplace of rave culture--as Michelangelo Matos notes in an essay for NPR coincidentally published today: "The British started raving before Americans did, but they got the idea in Ibiza."
In present parlance, the term "Balearic" is often used to describe a certain kind of mellow, blissed-out, beachy house or disco sound--a parallel to "Dance Music for Old People"--and in fact, it has been so overused among music-writer hacks that one popular music message board for a long time took the phrase "jeez, not everything is Balearic you guys" as its motto. In Beat Connection's case, it's well earned: This track is all those things, and this is so frequently the dudes' style, that I have to stop myself every time from typing their name as "Beach Connection" (or sometimes even "Beach House," which is a better genre name than it is a band name anyway).
The rest after the jump . . ."Trunk": The trunk of the car is where you keep your stereo's sub-woofers. When you're hot-boxing your own little mobile rave, the trunk is where you feel the bass from. To rattle a trunk is the goal of any great hip-hop or dance music production. (Beat Connection are worlds away from hip-hop, of course, but their slow-mo tempos can sometimes nod back in that direction, as in the fadeout of this track.) I don't have a car, so I can't test the low-end frequencies of this track in their ideal environment, but they sound deep enough on my home studio monitors to warrant the invocation.
"Rhythm": Duh. Rhythm is life. But I almost feel like the boys meant "riddim" here, which is the Jamaican patois spelling used to indicate the instrumental tracks and patterns that form the basis for dub, dancehall, and reggae. Riddims get reused, recycled, and reworked; they're open-source beats of a sort. They also invoke beachy climes, though of a different sort. Both the half-time bass beat at the end of this track and the wobbly steel drums (and corresponding synths) throughout bring this to mind.
So, there you have it: "Balearic Trunk Rhythm." Apt.
Beat Connection play the Vera stage at the Capitol Hill Block Party, Saturday, July 23.