Beatchild's 'Nostalgia' Instrumental Compilation Pushes His Soulful Production Forward

Beatchild's 'Nostalgia' Instrumental Compilation Pushes His Soulful Production Forward
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Nostalgia doesn't seem an especially fitting title for the first retrospective instrumental collection from Beatchild, previously known as Slakah the Beatchild, then Beatchild & the Slakadeliqs. After all, the Sarnia-born musician, emcee, vocalist, producer and songwriter born Byram Joseph has crafted a wholly singular and seamless fusion of hip-hop, R&B, funk and psychedelic vibes over the past 12 years, defying categorization. Beatchild effortlessly blends genres and eras so proficiently that any 'retro' categorizations seem lazy, if not fatuous.

Composed of instrumental cuts of tracks from albums released on British hip-hop label BBE (Soul Movement Vol. 1, Soul Movement Vol. 2 and Heavy Rockin' Steady), Nostalgia: Beats of 2008 – 2020 wisely eschews chronology in favor of an innate sense of groove, feel and texture, giving full focus to each beat's smoothly languid and soulful production.

"California Coastin' 2.0" opens the set like a dive into warm water, an inviting dip into warm psych-funk, a sly reminder to fans of his Soul Movement series not to sleep on his Slakadeliqs releases, before easing into the hypnotic and layered "Feel That Music," setting the aura for Beatchild's sonic trip ahead. "Byram's Groove (Cut a Rug)" and "When The Night Stood Still" are easily the most accessible cuts here. The former is an invigorating funk joint while the latter is a spacey and atmospheric slice of addictive, nocturnal hip-hop. Elsewhere, "Butta Fat Vibes," "Living for the Rush" and "Ain't Nothing Like Hip Hop" radiate jazzy, infectious energy.

Beatchild's more adventurous explorations are given ample showcase as well. "The Only Difference" is a sunny, lysergic summertime daydream with an endearing synthesizer hook, while his psychedelic leanings shine brightest on "The Remedy," an analogue wonder of fuzzed-out electric guitar, grooving backbeat and vintage keyboard magic. There are a few surprises in the form of unreleased cuts that, while not especially revelatory, still fit nicely. The finely blunted "Soul Garden" will get your head nodding while "Space Walk" is a sublime, sparsely orchestrated detour.

With a Juno nomination, collaborations with Drake, Divine Brown, Shad, Tanika Charles and too many else to mention, as well as a fervent international following, it doesn't seem that there is anything Beatchild can't do or do well. The proof is in his grooves. (BBE)