Channel Tres – Real Cultural Shit
Since 2018, Compton rapper and producer Channel Tres has been staging a cultural reclamation of Black pioneered music. Blending the futurist pulse of Detroit techno and the grooving soul of Chicago house with the swaggering gait of West Coast hip-hop, Channel Tres has been quietly redefining club and rap music, bringing the two together as part of a shared lineage that seeks to erase the former’s whitewashing while evolving the way we think of the latter sonically. In lieu of a full LP, it’s been through his short form EP and single releases that Tres has found channels for his most interesting work, beginning with 2018’s self-titled debut EP and continuing through to last year’s Acid / Ganzfeld 12”. Longer EPs meanwhile, have been more focussed case studies into stylistic and aesthetic ideas. Last year’s refresh featured no vocals or verses from the rapper, instead taking shape as seven instrumental tracks of languid and loungey house music that pulled from acid and afrohouse. Tres hasn’t quite consolidated his sonic identity yet, but has used these EPs to give himself the freedom and latitude to continue exploring and taking steps closer to whatever that may be. His latest, Real Cultural Shit, arrives as a placeholder between refresh and his debut album, giving us a glimpse into the current frequency Channel Tres is tuned into.
On Real Cultural Shit, Channel Tres blends the jazz and disco sensibilities explored on I can’t go outside with the club ready beats of refresh. The result is a short collection of lethargic, euphoric grooves whose subject matter looks toward nightlife and dance music as liberation. The EP opens with the acid jazz monologue Sleep When Dead, which acts as a manifesto of sort for Tres’s modus operandi. The effervescent and euphoric 6AM follows, equal parts Mylo’s Drop The Pressure and vintage Daft Punk with disco harmonies and conga drum accents. On the lush and gorgeously textured Big Time, there’s touches of kwaito on the earworm chorus, and Frank Ocean style melodies set against a buzzing house beat that phases in and out of dream-like distortion. Just Can’t Get Enough and All My Friends are both stylish disco-house cuts, the former taking its place as the centrepiece of the EP. Both tracks are deliciously vibey, rounding out Real Cultural Shit as one of Tres’s most consistently groove focussed releases and the most cohesive he’s sounded to date.
Listen to Big Time from Real Cultural Shit below.
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