Brown Calvin - d i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e
Released: August 2022
Label: AKP Recordings
'While You Were Sleeping...' presents a retrospective account of a project that has had time to marinate. This week sees us returning to Brown Calvin's 'd i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e'.
Andre Burgos' first album as Brown Calvin hypnotically weaves creamy nu-jazz, heavenly ambient electronica, and unconventional song structures into a meditative, perfectly balanced debut.
Based in Portland, born in Philadelphia, and raised in Puerto Rico, Andre Burgos' artistic journey draws the listener through a labyrinth of influences and cultural seeds. Whilst exposed to 70’s afrobeat, jazz, and Latin music whilst growing up, it was the many different genres and ideas utilised in the hip-hop of the early 90’s that he resonated most with - particularly the innovative ways producers affected samples and composed drum patterns. Now, with the maturity and instrumental skills necessary to realise his dreams, Burgos sets forth to create a single magnificent musical world all of his own.
'd i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e' is an odyssey of songs that are less individual statements, and more seamless connective tissues - making up one entire body. The contours and minute details take precedence over a persistent rush of energy and it is initially disconcerting just how untethered Burgos is to traditional song structure. Yet as the work progresses, we realise so much of the joy in his music comes from letting yourself sink completely into his boundless sonic world.
The album's opening - 'D i m e n s i o n (0-∞)' is an 18 minute evolutionary epic of hazy keyboards doused in tailored reverbs, delays and psychedelic saturation. Foley rhythms seep in through the corners of the mix and mould shape shifting forms within the cloudy chord progressions, aiding subtle shifts from the first half's more muted energy into the second's brighter, bolder patterns that emphasise crisp textures and snares.
You can detect a myriad of influences and inspirations within his sound - the naturalistic yet left-of-centre nu-jazz of contemporaries Nala Sinephro and Sam Gendel, the unpredictable drum programming and melodic weight of Flying Lotus, the thick production methods of Georgia Anne Muldrow and Makaya McCraven - yet Burgos' sound is entirely his own, as all these different elements get fully recontextualized for his expansive, weightless songs that delight in throwing you for endless loops.
The second half of the album is compiled of shorter tracks, strung together with an emotive cohesion that subconsciously inspires a sense of deep humanity, each individual presence expressing certain aspects of his music that he resisted exposing on 'D i m e n s i o n (0-∞)' while preserving the richness and vivid colours of it.
'P e r s p e c t I v e 1 1' acts as a sonic conduit of dust and memory, portraying a fervent restlessness through off-kilter kick drums and dry tape crackle. 'P e r s p e c t I v e 3' maintains a feeling of pressurised nervous energy whilst broadening the mix to incorporate cleaner synth tones and a warm low-end that acts as a plush landing pad for light hand drums and laid-back improvisation.
Despite the relentless activity during almost every moment of the album, there is never the sense of being overwhelmed by the condensing of a lifetime of ideas. 'P e r s p e c t I v e 44' with its heavy swing, swells and relaxed electric piano work is a strong yet tasteful cooldown that hints towards the more lucid moments presented later on 'P e r s p e c t I v e 7'.
Concluding the project we have the divine 'P e r s p e c t i v e !i' a swathing collision of chord pads and serene analog recording hiss, which aptly soundtracks the culmination of dozens of different DNA strands into one massive chain of emotions and artistic intentions. It's no surprise the album was released by AKP - one of the most thoughtful and expressive labels who are on the cutting edge of experimental music - yet it is impossible to ignore that 'd i m e n s i o n // p e r s p e c t i v e' embraces warm jazz harmony and comforting analog drum sounds just as much as it embraces unconventionality. It is undeniable how much love and dedication has been poured into every note, drum loop and tape manipulation, if it's here, it's here for a reason and the album feels absolutely rounded and whole because of it. Burgos' ability to balance out so many different elements and not sacrifice any of the album's many sides in pursuit of stability is not only impressive, but deeply touching and admirable, and you are gifted a clearer image of his heart and the soundscapes his love for music bloomed with every single listen.