Hood Joplin – #75FFA1 EP

Wednesday 13th, July 2016 / 21:52
By Sydney Ball

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#75FFA1 is a cool mix of chilly synths and beats informed by footwork and hip-hop. It’s that Northern Alberta sound, and behind the decks is Edmonton producer and DJ Hood Joplin. Locally, HJ’s leading her small scene to make an impact with art and events that strive to be inclusive, but she’s also been reaching past it recently and connecting with her influencers in Chicago. This is her first EP, and on it we see HJ working to establish a signature sound while her career has started to take off.

Opening track “#75FFA1” is a highlight, working in increasingly more complex rhythms in the second half before dropping off to the minimal beat of “Audrey Hepburn.” The EP stays at that level over the next few tracks, focusing on tone and lush backing synths. “Hood Joplin Type Beat” is comparatively spacious and dark sounding. Throwing on a few more loops of any of these beats at the club would put the listener into a deep trance.

HJ’s use of synths, often sounding symphonic and constantly moving with the beats, shows that melody is an important component to her music. It would be interesting to see her experiment more with the South East Asian melodies of her Pakistani heritage, such as in her excellent “Masala” tracks.

The last song features Sam Lucia, front man of Vancouver’s esoteric, dreamy hip-hop duo So Loki. The two are a perfect match, with HJ’s hypnotic production backing Lucia’s vocal fry, which balances somewhere on the line between bored and menacing, before switching it up to overlap a strange chant on top of a stuttering beat. It’s a joy to see two Canadian up and comers experimenting together.

It’s 13 minutes and 33 seconds long, so #75FFA1’s five tracks can’t really be called an immersive listening experience. It would be great to see HJ extend her beats into compositions and use releases outside of her mixes to work with song structure. The first two tracks of the EP prove that she’s got an understanding of how to build intensity and accomplish this.

Let’s hope some of the beats from #75FFA1 make it to dance floors and mixes across Canada. It’s a great debut EP by an artist who is doing admirable work to unite her small scene and help it grow.