This week we dive into melocat’s ‘Bedtime Stories’
Melocat describes his production journey as ‘a long and winding road that feels like it’s still just beginning’ and this is certainly true. Crafting his sound initially for himself, melocat has quickly risen in prominence and production skill. His journey started in earnest when he joined the ubiquitous FB community, lo-fi family, saying: ‘It was only because of lo-fi family that being a producer/artist with an audience, rather than a person making beats that never left my garage, became a possibility. Shout out to Griffin and all the mods for making it possible!’ After joining the group in it’s infancy, melocat quickly developed a signature voice. ‘Bedtime Stories’ is the newest album from the beat maker but how does this project fit into melocat’s ever growing story?
The general concept of ‘Bedtime Stories’ is that dreamlike, late night introspection and it hits this chord beautifully. This album explores the stories we tell ourselves when we are at our most peaceful. The beats traverse a tale of gentle memories and half forgotten feelings. The beauty in this is the album’s hands off approach. There's enough room for the listener’s feelings and thoughts to be explored but the atmosphere is wrought with suggestion. It’s foil for the listener to delve into their own psyche and the execution is so delicate that it feels like a dream; but one you can grasp and interpret. melocat explained it like this:
'I wanted to make a beat tape with a vibe that captured the late night, contemplative feel of introspection and imagination. I started with the album title and went to work from there. It's a simple concept, the title itself is pretty self explanatory but with the help of artists such as Behind Clouds, who features on 'There to Stay', and sushileaf who created the album cover, I think I've achieved what I set out to do.’
Like half spoken chats late at night, ‘Bedtime Stories’ has a deep, ethereal feel to it. Tracks like the aforementioned ‘There to Stay’ skirt stylistic lines to create a unique emotional response that is representative of the whole project.
This introspective feel is intensified with the excellent sample choices found throughout the project. The melodies at play here are like coffee. Initially bitter but blended to sweetness. Take ‘Orbit’ for example. This gorgeous beat starts with a filtered harp and strong bass but, as the filter opens up, this wonderfully thick but delicate soundscape takes over. Floating along the spectrum with confidence and beauty.
When asked about the sample selection on ‘Bedtime Stories’, melocat explained it like this: ‘I knew what the title/theme was going to be before I started so then it was just a case of digging for sounds that I felt would work. When I couldn’t find inspiration in my record collection, I went to my encyclopaedia of jazz artists, which is a great resource for finding sounds I wouldn’t have otherwise found by blindly searching on the internet. The sample selection is perfect for the atmosphere. Soft and delicate but infused with meaning.’
Carefully selected and lovingly prepared, ‘Bedtime Stories’ is a perfect example of sampling to a theme. Rather than restricting himself to samples within his library, Melocat branched out in order to find the right sounds for this project and that dedication shines through.
Another massive feature of ‘Bedtime Stories’ is the drums. Rather than stick to the ethereal theme, the drums are heavy and deep. They are truly the foundation of this project, in fact. They ground the album and provide tangible weight to the rhythm at play. Rather than some flimsy construct they are a heavyweight element that belies the simplicity of the song structures. The kicks are especially impressive. Bassy and full but not overbearing, they add body and depth that spices up the entire project. There’s a variety of rhythm and timbre too on ‘Bedtime Stories’. melocat skates between rhythms smoothly. Moving from Boom bap to Halftime and much more effortlessly. ‘Star Clusters’ is a standout example of the drums on ‘Bedtime Stories’. The twangy guitar sample sits atop a thick, strong drumline that faultlessly swings and bumps. The drums feel alive and confident. An impressive feat when working with such an intangible thematic concept.
‘Bedtime Stories’ is an interesting album. The concept is ethereal and hard to grasp and, whilst many have tackled this subject, very few have handled it with the elegance of melocat. The sampling on the project is exquisite as well. Perfectly balanced between theme and utility, the melodies are lush, gorgeous and seem to glide across the soundscape with no resistance. In contrast to this, the drums add another layer. Strong and confident, the deep tones of the drumline compliment the mist-like melodies of the samples beautifully and provide a solid bedrock for the album. ‘Bedtime Stories’ is a solid, full project. It perfectly captures that late night, dreamy introspection whilst at the same time delivering a hefty Beat centric experience. Despite the overt thematics, this project can (and should) be enjoyed in a variety of situations. This is one for the listener. One for those times where you just need to let you subconscious take you where it will.
Listen to ‘Bedtime Stories’ here:
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