IMYRMIND – Tong Po EP

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IMYRMIND is the latest in the line of young Berlin based artists showing their love for the sample-heavy production techniques of dusty golden-era hip-hop, by recontextualising it through the framework of house music. Having originally broken through by collaborating with friend and label mate Glenn Astro, he has recently begun to grow into his own as a solo artist. Following on from his release on Glenn Astro and Max Graef’s joint label Money $ex Records earlier this year, up next is the ‘Tong Po’ EP on the Danish label Tartelet – who have released LPs by both Astro and Graef in the past.

When considering the strong connections the artists hold, it is not surprising that IMYRMIND’s productions share many of the features of his more established label mates. It has the same hip-hop inspired, collage-like approach to sampling, the same crackle soaked drums and the same jazzy flourishes to add character to his pieces. The strength of this cut-and-paste aesthetic that IMYRMIND and his label mates are pushing is that in a world of electronic music that can sometimes feel soulless, their sampling of records played with live instrumentation gives their music an organic feel. However, he is not simply a copycat of Astro and Graef; on the ‘Tong Po’ EP bits of his personality shine through on every song, mostly through his soon-to-be trademark woozy synthwork.

In the title track ‘Tong Po’, there is an abrasive four-to-the-floor drum beat that sounds more like techno than most of the music Astro and Graef put their hands to, joined by IMYRMIND’s drunken synths and a bouncy bassline that keeps the tune from straying into punishing territory. The second song on the A-side – ‘Wanja 9000’ – sets its dust-covered drums out in a 2-step shuffle, occasionally pulling them out for a bleary-eyed piano line to take centre stage.

The B-side’s first cut, ‘Upturn’, is the real star of the EP. The Latin-inspired drums paint a vibrant picture, and a minute in it reaches a trumpet-laden crescendo that would not sound out of place in one of Rio carnival’s Blocos; the tension is then released into a high jazzy piano line that rides on top of more excellent synth and samba backing. ‘Number Seven’ closes the EP on a more introspective note. On this final song his pianos twinkle mournfully away, as if encapsulating the afterglow of better times, which gives the track an end of the night feel that could make it a brilliant closer to a DJ set.