the trip hop genre was literally birthed in bristol, home to pioneers like tricky, massive attack, and of course portishead. it was however a genre that quickly made more sense as an influence to other musical forms than as a fixed sound of its own, which probably explains why portishead took almost a decade before releasing last year’s third, an album that successfully departed from the stereotypically chill, laid back feel of the genre with its more aggressively experimental sound. i’m guessing it’s a direction that may have influenced upcoming montreal duo beast in their recently released self-titled debut album. while beast, comprising producer jean-phi goncalves and vocalist betty bonifassi, may not equal portishead in terms of sophisticated production, it does hold its own in terms of balancing a raw, harder-edged delivery with what is at heart a smooth and danceable vibe – a beast exuding its own beauty, if you must. in album centerpiece “mr hurricane”, all this happens when the rough edges of bonifassi’s vocals meet the greasy surface of the track’s fat bassline, the effects of both combining eventually in the awakening call of the final chorus.
mp3: beast – mr hurricane