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Déjà vu is by far one of the weirdest feelings you can experience. One minute you’re walking down the street, it’s a lovely day and everything is fine. Suddenly you’re plagued with the sense that you’ve been here before. Your mind is grasping to remember something that has to do with this street, the person you’re walking with, or the time of day. Hello everyone, meet déjà vu! That uneasy sensation alone is more than enough to spur on an afternoon existential crisis, without even mentioning how frustrating it is to try and recover whatever memory encouraged this half-assed recollection. Déjà vu is something I passionately hate.
Almost Déjà vu, however, is something I quite enjoy. And main man Belu, has navigated the phenom and won.
As perplexing and enamouring as a good deja vu sesh can be, Belu’s Almost Deja Vu is smooth, woozy and soothing to a mind wondering and trying to remember.
Sydney producer Belu, more commonly known as Beau Cummins, has cleverly woven a sense of familiarity through his first 2016 release, complete with an overall trippy feeling of time melting away. Almost Déjà vu spans a healthy six minutes, which is just the right amount of time to fully immerse yourself in this blissful sonic experience. The track is simple but executed cleanly, highlighting a partnership between rhythmic 80’s synths and that soulful bass-line. Much like the title suggests, the flow of the work creeps along steadily and employs a fairly heavy use of repetition that really is almost uncannily déjà vu to hear.
The soundscape is a fresh reinvention of what we’ve seen from the 24 year old artist in the past, progressing from the jittery melodies featured on the 2015 How It Is EP and not nearly as ambient as Cummin’s past collaborative musical project Audient. Taking inspiration from artists as diverse as Kevin Parker, Tyler the Creator, John Lennon and The Chi-Lites, Belu aims to create music that listeners can relate to on an emotional level, specific to their circumstances: “I wouldn’t want to prescribe an emotion that the listener should feel. It’s such a personal thing, you know? The feeling the song evokes in myself is likely to be drastically different for the next person and that’s the beauty of any form of art.”
Aside from the expansive synths scattered through the piece (a product of Cummin’s Roland Juno-106), the most interesting part of Almost Déjà Vu is the constant beat that anchors everything. Belu’s percussion interests reside in a unique place where he tries to replicate live drums as closely as possible through samples programmed in Maschine. “I’m forever working on developing my drum programming skills to get live sounding drums, while at the same time being able to push boundaries with the beats that is typically only possible when making electronic music.” Coupled with woozy guitar twangs, the result is a hypnotic song that captures you in its layers of repetition and never feels as torturous or static as actual déjà vu.
Almost Déjà Vu is the first release of a few Belu has planned over the next few months, all most likely forming his upcoming second EP. The producer is looking to get on the road fairly soon after polishing a new live set that sees a lot of new material brought to the forefront.