Splendidly Anemic Funk (MP3)

There’s a shifty funk at the heart of the splendidly anemic track “Beyond the Ken,” recently uploaded by all n4tural to his soundcloud.com/all-n4tural account. The beat, to the extent that there is one, has the weight of two bits of sandpaper used sparingly. It moves like a crab walks: sideways, and giving the sense of moving backward even as it creeps ever forward. It’s deeply anxious, but also itself more than a little anxiety-provoking.

The musician who recorded it, all n4tural, gives the impression that it was somewhat quickly put together, but the track feels whole and meticulous, perhaps because it is so spare that each element carries its own compositional weight and then some. There’s a tidy vocal sample that’s set on repeat. It’s arid and just barely intelligible. The whole piece has the sense of something left out in the sun and bleached nearly white.

The beautiful thing about Soundcloud is the extent to which it suggests a certain amount of intimacy. In part this is because of how the musicians who host their music there often themselves comment, not only on their tracks but on other musicians’ track. But it’s especially the case because much Soundcloud-hosted music is, like this all n4tural track, little more than a recent experiment. It’s a glimpse at someone’s creative process, at the rough music made in the process of making music, not shiny music that is the end result of that process. It’s a nation of demo tapes.

Track originally posted a little more than a week ago at soundcloud.com/all-n4tural.

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