Producer Talos has worked alongside High Focus’s newest recruit Coops for several years, providing the assist on multiple tracks from the rappers debut High Focus release, as well as the prior albums that gained him this attention: ‘God Complex’ and ‘Lost Soul’. Talos’s debut EP ‘Lowlight EP’ on High Focus is a genre-crossing project mixing elements of lo-fi, hip-hop and jazz to create beautiful soundscapes, paired with lyrical assistance from Coops, Poppy Ajudah, Jerome Thomas and Nubya Garcia.
The first track, ‘Intro’, begins with the sound effects of a car door opening and a characteristic click of a clipper sparking up. It’s fitting, the gentle beat that comes in is perfectly ambient, with a lo-fi crackle giving it a relaxed, old-school feel, the kinda sounds you’re likely to hear blazing summer days away in the park with an old Bluetooth speaker. The versatile Coops accompanies the track with a laidback flow, the vocals turned down so as to come across as part of the melody, rather than an element imposed on top.
On ‘Oh Girl’, Talos demonstrates the keenness of his ear, beautifully interpolating an intermittent trumpet refrain on top of the drum kit and bass that forms the backbone of the track. Poppy Ajudha’s silky smooth vocals contain just as much musicality as the beautifully delicate muted trumpet, and the track is certainly a standout.
‘Slow Traffic’ is propelled by a wonderfully simple drum loop – a classic ba-dum-bum-bap – with a sharp rimshot signalling the end of each bar. A type of rhythm tapped out time and again on the steering wheels of those impatiently waiting in slow traffic. The track transitions into ‘Blue Moon Freestyle’, another Coops assist, but this time with the focus initially on the vocals. The beat here just a gentle lo-fi melody sustained by a few simple piano chords, and again with the distinctive sound of a Clipper commencing proceedings. Halfway through the track the vocals fade out, with Coops rhyming “Times in life I’ve been more than snookered/ Times in life I’ve moved more than wild bet you wish you had a new kid” – a tribute to the role his mum has played in his life and getting him to where he is today. The rimshot from the previous track continues to drive the melody, with some added guitar riffs evident on the surface without Coops’s accompaniment. It’s the kind of track that could go on forever, the perfect background for reflective smoke, the bars a testament to the times when you just wanna kick back, relax with a joint, and maybe clear your mind by spraying a few bars.
The final track rolls in with the sound of a train pulling into a station, signalling that we are about to arrive at our destination. Another simple kick drum loop is supplemented by piano chords and a simple synth, after which a beautiful saxophone mends its way up and down the stave, creating a rich texture of sound that lulls the listener deep into his own thoughts. It’s close your eyes and drift away music, designed for pink sunsets and balmy evenings, a true masterpiece of a track concluding 15 minutes of music that sounds like the a soundtrack to an entire summer. Check it out here.