Snakehips seem to have been covered by every man and his blog since they started releasing tunes in 2012. The UK-based production duo has had people gushing over them left, right and centre for their maximalist mish-mash of styles, equally referencing golden era hip-hop, 90s R & B, and the Super Nintendo. Reworking artists ranging from The Weekend to Wild Belle, as well as building up a repertoire of originals, their tracks anchor the soul-sampling aesthetic of hip-hop with a more modern sounding production style, oozing with pumping compression and mangled vocal lines.
Snakehips are big in Japan. Also Australia. Also most of the world. Check out their next blogbusting track Days With You here on Happy.
They’ve been throwing out a steady stream of beats in this signature style on Soundcloud, including two in the past month, Days with You and After I Met You. Whoever this ‘you’ is, they must be flattered. Days With You is a number that begins a little like a DJ Premier instrumental with swells of white noise added into the mix, but isn’t satisfied just chilling there. Before long, the track explodes into a thick chorus of vocal harmonies, sampled strings, and touches of dubbed-out, playful synth work in the periphery.
With such a dense production style already supporting it, the albeit catchy vocal hook from Sinead Barrett sounds a little contrived, like it was crammed on top of the beat as an afterthought to add sing-along appeal. Their new track After I Met You doesn’t suffer from this problem, though, being more of an exercise in chopping and screwing a similarly poppy vocal line to add crunch to a similarly styled hip-hop beat.
It’s tasty stuff, and definitely on par with the better vocal-slicing moments of Mt Kimbie, Gold Panda and Flume. Starting out slow, with soulful Rhodes noodling and bass counterpoint, the track builds to a wash of synth and bass energy, interpolated by drum fills, synth bleeps and vocal fragments. They even manage to squeeze in a rework of Jennifer Lopez’ Get Right for an outro, for those who might be too young to remember the 90s*.
Their approach to production has so far produced some amazingly dense and layered tracks, and with them pushing so many nostalgia buttons for anyone who lived through the 90s, it’s easy to see why they’ve gained such widespread appeal. Their modern production style has also set them apart amongst other purveyors of retro-revival music, giving them a distinctly identifiable style. All the same, it remains to be seen whether or not they can really create a classic track like the R & B and soul classics they take inspiration from.
At the moment, though, this probably isn’t something they’re worried about.
Since gaining significant exposure appearing on the Hype Machine’s list of most blogged artists, they seem to have transformed into something of a hype machine themselves. Hopefully that’s something they can continue to live up to.
*But honestly, if you remember anything about the 90’s outside cheesy RnB, you’re probably too old for this blog.
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