Review: Ryan Hemsworth and Lucas - "Taking Flight"

Ryan Hemsworth and Lucas - Taking Flight
(2015 Secret Songs)

Taking Flight is to trap music what Beat Happening’s self-titled debut was to punk – a thorough re-imagining of the genre that replaces brutish masculinity with lovably juvenile emotion and off-kilter experimentation. While Washington’s Beat Happening built their aesthetic upon amateurish guitar chords and intentional mistakes, Hemsworth and Lucas, hailing from Canada and Seattle respectively, utilize spacey ambience and dreamy samples to accompany chopped-up slivers of hip-hop percussion. Taking Flight is a record that focuses on empty spaces – it mixes and matches traditional tropes of dance music to, paradoxically, create music that is rarely danceable. Instead, the EP acts as a sonic space heater, slowly filling your mind and soul with warm vibez. “Long Time” weaves a Yo La Tengo-esque drum loop through a waft of dreamy flutes and slap-chopped acoustic guitar. It’s not too far removed from the production on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same, come to think of it. Closing cut “You Remain” takes a bit of Travi$ Scott influence in its avant-trap approach, pairing ultra-bassy vocaloid groans with flecks of glitched-out dial-up tones.