Ever since the release of Whitest Taino Alive’s eponymous EP back in late 2015, Dominican imprint Stereoptico has remained quiet, dropping a pair of SoundCloud loosies here and there over the summer. But we’re thrilled to find out that the drought has ended, and a tropical storm of releases will follow. New music from the likes of AcentOh, Maeloo, SCDD_ALTA, JayBass, and WTA will see the light in the next few months. We’ve just been blessed with a fantastic debut album by Dominican producer Bacayne titled Azure Magic, the follow-up to his 2015 Adamant EP.
Bacayne has a deep understanding of hip-hop beatmaking, but as Azure Magic shows, he’s far from limited by the genre. This rings true especially on tracks like “Black Moon,” which sounds like a The Private Press-era DJ Shadow jam recontextualized for 2016. First single “Crying,” on the other hand, marries a knife-sharp trap beat with deliciously kitschy 80s nostalgia – slapped bass lines, shimmery new age synths, sax melodies – with no other purpose than to set the right mood for love.
Indecipherable vocal samples adorn each track on Azure Magic. They appear warped, pitched up and down, but retain a soulful quality that spills into the cracks of the project and brings an uplifting sense of nostalgia to its overall sound. “Livin’ Just” exemplifies this the best; the vocals feel familiar and transport you to an old school R&B/soul moment from decades ago, while the crunchy beat keeps things fresh.
It takes just one listen of Azure Magic to understand Bacayne: he’s devoted to creating timelessness through thoughtful and masterful references to the old and new.
Bacayne’s Azure Magic is out now on Stereoptico.