This week we put Kuranes’ ‘Bad Habits’ under the microscope.
Since the age of 13 Kuranes has been avid music fan saying: ‘I'd actively listen to it, like literally sit there for hours looking for the reason why I found myself pressing repeat every time.’ As Kuranes approached his late teens he realised the vibe he chose to experience on any given day was heavily influencing his mood. Cutting down on hardcore Rap and approaching Hip-Hop more consciously, he began experimenting. Staying up until dawn and skipping classes to listen to more music, learn more techniques and study the stories of the producers that inspire him. His passion was so strong that he quit university and began grinding. Inspired by the possibilities of creation through the manipulation of sound, Kuranes has always tried to push his craft to the highest level. But how does ‘Bad Habits’ feature in this story of learning and discovery?
Kuranes is a master of creating lush melodies and ‘Bad Habits’ doesn’t disappoint. The sound design is beautiful on this project. Each element is full. The drums smack, the samples ring out with full tonal range and the percussion, textures and vocal chops are all treated with the same attention to detail. Balancing samples and one shots is an incredible skill and Kuranes had this to say on his process:
‘I usually start by recording something and chopping it up into as many pieces as I feel like. I almost always take little parts from the whole track I'm sampling and rearrange them to come up with something new. When I’m done chopping I usually have a few loops already. I’ll pick the best one or two, add drums and whatever else suits the vibe. I always mix as I go. Using equalisers to smooth frequencies out, transient shapers to control the snap and depth of the percussion and delays to blend sounds together. The vibe is main focus of the track of me. It’s taken me years of experimentation in my little bedroom studio to get to the sound I want but I’m constantly learning and switching things up to improve it.’
This depth of sonic experimentation and growth is prominently on display in ‘Bad Habits’. Overall nothing feels out of place. Everything is balanced as if these sounds were destined to be together.
‘Bad Habits’ is an incredibly lush tape but it has a definitive bounce. I’d coin the sound here as funky flotation. The melodies at play give you the feeling of drifting in an endless sea, with drums that skitter and jam organically underneath. Textures are the waves in this ocean, but the funk cant be overstated. Take ‘still awake?’. This track is simply gorgeous. As a peaceful guitar leads the way, the drums are free to play out their own rhythm and funk. It’s a sublime sensation. ‘Bad Habits’ sets you adrift in an ocean without horizon but rather than panic, Kuranes invites us all to simply float and take in all the beauty around us.
When speaking to Kuranes about ‘Bad Habits’, the producer explained it as ‘a minimalistic collection of moods’ and that’s exactly on point. This is an emotionally succinct tape. It gives you a lot to chew on but never burdens you with melodrama or forced emotion. The thematics are ambiguous enough that the listener can pull their own meaning whilst still keeping the pace brisk. The tape rolls out as a gentle current. Ceaseless and kinetic, but also calm. A lot of this thematic ambiguity comes from Kuranes’ personal experience at the time of creation:
‘I made this tape last year as I was going through lots of important and unexpected changes. I was in a very reflective, melancholic mood and I lost my guidance suddenly. I had to make some hard decisions and switch things up a bit. Focus on things I never needed to think about before. I was thinking on how I could improve myself, my relationships with others and what exactly wasn't working for me. Be it people, places, or my own approach to certain things. As I was thinking of solutions to solve my problems, I got inspired and made music. This tape is very personal and I really appreciate everyone who listens to it and enjoys.’
‘Bad Habits’ is a beautiful collection of music. Kuranes’ signature production techniques shine here. Using his deft ear and natural swing he makes his sources sing with a voice all their own. The marriage between funky rhythms and chill melodies are completely balanced and this blend creates a lush but powerful atmosphere. The project’s creation at a transitional point in the producers life is evident, but Kuranes never burdens the listener with any definitive emotions. Allowing each individual to have their own experience and follow the pace of the album. ‘Bad Habits’ is a glorious highpoint in years of musical growth, experimentation and discovery. Utilising his own brand of beats to created a uniquely individual piece of art that could only be, Kuranes.
Listen to ‘Bad Habits’ here:
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