Texas-based lawyer-cum-beatmaker Diego Bernal is back with Besides …, nearly a dozen tracks of downtempo, hip-hop-infused, crate-digging goodness. Lightly strummed guitar at the opening of “A Long Second” suggests some regional flavor, as flanging light noise and a raspy drum kit kick in, followed by wisps of r&b horns that sound more like memories than like samples. “Blue Neon,” a particular favorite, makes the most of a back beat, a hi-hat, a vocal call-out, and some sour organ playing.
The music is the like some secret side-project team-up between Ennio Morricone and DJ Premiere, mixing atmospheric melodrama and rough beats, especially on the haunging “2nd Degreed Bern,” with its quavering background strings, looped electric guitar, and swollen bass line. Not that it’s all music for late-night montages; “West Quad Lottery” ups the album’s heartbeat briefly, thanks to an exquisitely brief bass riff and a squonking horn part.
Get the full set for free through the “Download” button in the above interface, or visit the releasing record label (which is selling full-on vinyl versions at a steal): exponential.bandcamp.com.
Bernal’s previous album, For Corners, was one of my favorites of last year (full list at disquiet.com).