's first album, Beatz & Pieces Vol. 1
, came out July 12 on Pretty Lights'
label, and in this case, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. When I think Pretty Lights, I think of something that is pretty safe and flexible to listen to, something I wouldn't hesitate to put on for any crowd, regardless of occasion, because Pretty Lights tends to be a crowd pleaser, or at the very least a crowd appeaser. Gramatik's album differs from Pretty Lights in that it's probably less "dubsteppy" and further towards the funk/downtempo side of the spectrum, sampling hip hop beats but adding live instrumentation as well. Basically, if you like Pretty Lights, you'll probably like this.
Like the calmer side of Pretty Lights' catalogue, Gramatik's album is nice to listen to whether you want to actually stop and listen to the music or just let it play in the background. It's not a challenging album by any means, but it's pleasant, and sometimes that's what you need. "The reason I started adding live instruments is because I felt that classic hip-hop beats without vocals lose me after two minutes. I want to keep the listener through the whole track." Indeed, Gramatik's vocal samples add a new layer of interest to the tracks, but they don't distract too much from the instrumentals and beats that are the true focus.
Gramatik - The Drink Is Called Rakija (04:58)
02. On The Boardwalk
03. While I Was Playin' Fair
04. So Much For Love
05. Good Evening Mr. Hitchcock
07. Like You Do
08. Portorose In July
10. Break Loose
11. The Drink Is Called Rakija
12. Make You Better
13. Is It Over
14. Happiness On A Leash
15. Moar Jive
17. The Monolith
Gramatik doesn't ask for anything from you. You don't have to pay complete attention to "get it." You don't have to dance (although you could). You don't have to worry about skipping tracks or picking favorites (although you could). You don't have to pick apart lyrics and cultural references (although you could). Sometimes you just want to listen to something that will blend into the background, something you can forget you're listening to because it lacks jarring moments. And while there are tracks that could stand alone (I'm a fan of "Good Evening Mr. Hitchcock"), the album works best as one extended piece.
Download: Gramatik - Beatz & Pieces Vol. 1
Gramatik - Good Evening Mr. Hitchcock (04:20)