This week we dive into [ruffiankick]’s ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’
[ruffiankick] is an interesting producer. With over 10 years in the game, he has crafted a sound uniquely his own. Constantly honing and sharpening his skills, the man himself said ‘the best thing about it (producing) is learning new techniques and new ways to make my shit sound flames. Or even learning my worth as an artist. After some ups and downs, like when he got his gear stolen last year, he cites the support of his friends, peers, and fans as a constant motivator, saying: ‘I had new equipment in less than 2 months. I've had fans donate me gear. They kept telling me how they put me up there with Knxldge, Mndsgn, and ohbliv. I got so much respect for them for that.’ Throughout it all, his goal has always been to make music for himself first and foremost, but also to leave a mark on people’s lives. To have fans worldwide ‘humming along to the beats’. ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ is the latest chapter in this musical story. Released through the new physical distribution group WRAPGATOS, how does this storied producer’s latest offering stack up?
Initially ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ raises a lot of questions. Namely what exactly is ‘HIFIDELIC’? When we spoke to [ruffiankick] he explained it as:
‘Concept behind ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ was to show my growth and my non-fear of learning something new and taking risks. I'm a sample based producer mainly, but I said fuck it. I wanna make some funk. Take a break from the records and focus on creating with a focus on minimalist complexity. I believe in that duality. I feel like a lot of the funk I had been bumping since I was a kid was doing the same thing. Even with the title, I noticed every one saying "Lo-Fi" and using it loosely, I figured I'd used the term "Hi-Fi" and mean it haha.’
This bravery and growth bleeds through the whole album. In essence, ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ is a celebration of natural creation and experimentation. It’s a celebration of individuality and staying true to inspiration. [ruffiankick] is saying ‘I’m gonna do me’ on this album.
Taking this concept and running with it, ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ navigates the soundscape like shifting sand. The album flips theme and style throughout but never feels disjointed. Take the switch from ‘INTODREAMS (THEGAIAVERSION)' to ‘ONE4FATBACK BAND’. The former is a dreamy, Rhodes led slow bump whilst the later is a direct, funky jam. On paper these two shouldn’t work, but on ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’, it’s a natural progression. Because the central themes of individualism and doing what comes naturally are so strong, [ruffiankick] is able to navigate all kinds of styles. We are getting a glimpse of the many sides of the producer here and he’s encouraging us to revel in uniqueness.
This uniqueness is underpinned by an off kilter funk found throughout the whole album. This is an organic funk that is married to [ruffian]’s unique swing. The beats bounce to their own rhythm and the stellar synth work buttresses that bounce with some real heft. Take ‘ADAMANTIUM’ for example. Straight out the gate the beat skitters and steps to a wonky synthetic piano before giving away to a bassline that rumbles and swings. This uniqueness is injected into every track on the project. This is no mean feat and a real testament to [ruffiankick]’s total lack of fear of strange poly rhythms or time signatures. In saying that, there’s also a subtlety to the pieces. The musical gear changes aren’t forced down your throat, rather they are suggested and [ruffiankick] trusts the listener to follow him all the way.
A large part of the organic nature of ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ is the drums. Raw and real, the whole project is peppered with outstanding drum work. The drum line feels like a performance, rather than a mechanical entity. You can hear them being tapped in rather than clicked in on a piano roll. The individual hits further enhance the organic feel. By using raw, unfussy kicks, snares and hats; ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ sounds human. When asked about the drum processing on this album [ruffiankick] had this to say:
‘For drums I wanted some slappers, so I put all my drums thru the Alesis 3630 compressor for punchiness and I ran my claps thru a microphone, like on the track ‘PARADOX'. My kick drums were mostly from the SP, in fact all my drums were stored on my SP and triggered thru Midi in Ableton. I usually like my drums snappy and punchy at the same time.'
Essentially the drums sound like they do because [ruffiankick] is being himself. Give anyone else the same tools and it wouldn’t be the same. Within a largely digital production landscape this is commendable, fresh and very necessary. As with the rest of the album, the drums are an expression of [ruffiankick]’s self.
‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ is a complete standalone project. [ruffiankick] is totally unique on this one. He glorifies and celebrates this, whilst allowing that individuality to seep into every element of the project. The organic and funky soundscape bolsters the thematics. Keeping things fresh whilst sounding unlike anything else. Underpinning all of this is the fantastic drum work. Raw, real and chock full of personality, the drums are truly standout here. ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ is a celebration of individuality. It’s an album that showcases exactly what following your own path can do. This project is uniquely [ruffiankick] and vice-versa. That thematic doesn’t distract from the pure joy and entertainment that the album provides, however. Rather it enhances it. Tune in to this one for a real, raw celebration of everything that makes individuality great.
Listen to ‘HIFIDELIC.LP1’ here:
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