Picks: Gardens - Dirty Art Club (Paxico Records / Lofi, instrumental hiphop, psych)

Gardens, by Dirty Art Club (Paxico Records - May 2020)

It's been a good few years since the previous Dirty Art Club LP dropped - 2017's Basement Seance, with only 2019's 5 track mini-EP Mystic Drive-Thru as a respite. Although in that time we've also had a few Madwreck albums (previously one half of DAC), so it hasn't been too shabby.

I remember hearing Basement Seance and not being that taken with it initially. Months later I gave it another go and was transfixed. I'm not sure what changed, but I must have really needed it at the time - there was something coming through the music which really resonated on a personal level. Not only that, but the album opened me up to beat tape format/culture and ignited inspiration to start experimenting with sampling. It remains one of my favourite albums to date.

Gardens is something a bit different, as you would hope. Whereas on the last album, it had a jaw-dropping coherence and flow from A to Z, Gardens seems to take this a step further. It's got the same flow, only this time the tracks feel like they really belong together, production-wise, so much that the album very nearly blends together in one seamless take. It's an album exuding confidence in it's simplicity - there seems to be less narrative-based tracks and more instrumental loops - although this isn't a criticism, it still remains a thought-provoking and emotively tipped listen throughout. If anything, this album sounds like an artist really flourishing and finding their feet. I'm looking forward to seeing where the Dirty Art Club goes next.

Check out the release here: https://dirtyartclub.bandcamp.com/album/gardens

- MN