The Crackle Plays is a new series from The Crackle that takes an in depth look at the latest releases in the beat community.
Across the world the beatmakers release stunning pieces of art that too often go unnoticed. Not any more. Shining a light on releases big and small from all over the globe, The Crackle Plays is here to give you a glimpse into these projects and the artists who make them.
Kicking off the series we have ‘Sampling Skills’ from Sickarone. Based in Turin, Italy, this producer has been creating music for over ten years. Starting his journey with deep, meditative dubstep and, after brief hiatus, resurfacing with a passion for creating beats. Working from a completely analogue studio, Sickarone dropped ‘Sampling Skills’ in Sept, but does the album live up to it’s name?
The project opens with the incredibly full but airy ‘Pin Pan’ and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Sickarone is adept at creating a thick sound without sacrificing the bounce. The whole of ‘Sampling Skills’ crackles with the heft of Sickarone’s sample and drum selection. This isn’t flimsy music. All the beats demand the listener’s attention without sacrificing their stamina. According to Sickarone himself ‘Pin Pan’ was the first beat he completed on the album and was very much intended as a scene setter. He even finishes the album with a re -flip of it with Neapolitan producer Odeeno. In his own words 'This one comes from a 90's R&B track I heard on my Discover Weekly on Spotify and I thought "you know what? i might try to chop this one up..” I added some filthy drums, a punchy sub, and some sliced vocals from the same tune. I liked the way it came out, chilled, but dark, and I guess with it's own character somehow’
That individuality of character is a trait every beat on the project shares. Each beat has it’s own energy and can stand on it’s own. While the overall mood is chill, it never leans on that archetype too heavily. There’s a lot of variety here. Some tracks are subtle, some are more obtuse and there are some moments that flat out demand a screwface. ‘Blackant’ and ‘Donut Money’ are especially filthy moments that will break even the most stoic of beat heads.
Most of this variety and individuality come directly from Sickarone’s impeccable production steez. His drums are scattered but still knock. The swing is natural and flows beautifully. ‘Bless You’ is a stand out example of the balance Sickarone finds between natural swing and experimentation. His drums are also unafraid to switch up the individual sounds. Swapping this snare for another, all in the space of four bars sometimes. It never feels like forced experimentation though, but a natural progression of the drum’s tone.
Another stand out feature of ‘Sampling Skills’ are the vocal chops. Serving as a highly crafted garnish to the hefty beats. So expertly chopped that is sometimes hard to pick out the source. However most of the tracks still retain the original sample’s vibe and feel. ‘Hotjustlike’ a great example. Taking an obvious source but flipping in such a way the funk changes.
‘Sampling Skills’ is a technical and atmospheric journey. The album showcases the artistry and skill it takes to make beats, without being so technically minded that the average listener feels out of depth. The core elements of Sickarone’s production are strong and these pieces help craft solid, weighty instrumentals with plenty of depth. For beat heads and the casual fan alike. If you’re a fan of the more experimental side of Hip Hop instrumentals this is for you ‘Sampling Skills’ is tightly crafted piece of art. Focussed, chock full of character and not to be missed.
Listen to ‘Sampling Skills’ here:
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