For me, Phutureprimitive was a gateway artist. I first really got into electronic music through the heavy dance scene of Miami, Florida – home of Ultra Music Festival and a thousand of the most exclusive clubs America has to offer. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of who’s dropping the latest electro-dubstep-moombah-house tracks in such an atmosphere. I soon realized, however, that such a fast-paced market was lacking two main characteristics: artistic individuality and longevity. All the songs sound the same, and each week there’s a new hit record to replace the last one. And yes, of course there are exceptions (Savant and GRiZ, to name a few), just as there are in any situation. But the point here is that there’s a big difference between a half-heartedly embellished four-on-the-floor beat, created for the sake of keeping the nightclubs packed, and inspired, musically creative electronic music. It was through this quest for more meaningful artistic vision that I came across Phutureprimitive for the first time.
Here is an artist who has demonstrated an incredible knack for producing high quality, high fidelity electronic music that remains authentic in the face of emotionless banality. “Lush melodies drift across intricate rhythms, groove-heavy beats and warm, fuzzy bass lines. Often exploring a dark and dense palette, his music also manages to convey a sense of tranquility and beauty, engaging the listener into hypnotic movement and often escalating toward a full kinetic experience.”
Simply put, the music of Phutureprimitive has got soul. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe electronic music has any soul, then you may be scoffing right now. In truth, however, that elusive concept of “soul” is just as present as ever, though in a slightly different form than we’re used to hearing. If you’re expecting to hear the kind of soul that James Brown was famous for, then you’ll probably be disappointed. No, artists like Phutureprimitive express their inner selves by working tirelessly to achieve the perfect sounds, arrangement, and effects that they yearn after. The emphasis here is placed on the studio production more so than the live element, and when it’s done right, it induces intense euphoria. The computer is used as a vessel for human creativity, not as a replacement.
In 2011, Phutureprimitive released Kinetik, his second full-length album. The consistent themes throughout the record are heavy bass lines to rumble your ribcage and keep the rhythm moving, haunting pads to create rich textures, and a diverse range of emotional melodies to tie it all together. Kinetic energy is created out of motion, and that’s exactly what this album inspires you to do, both physically and mentally. With each track, Phutureprimitive draws out your primal sense to move your body and dance to the rhythm, while simultaneously relaxing your mind and allowing you to connect with the music on a deeper emotional level.
As the album opens with “Cryogenic Dreams,” we are immediately primed for takeoff. We hear a laid-back beat, augmented by some clean guitar noodling and overlaid with atmospheric pads – a timbral combination which immediately reminds me of Emancipator. Once the bass hits, it’s easy to see how Phutureprimitive has roots in dubstep, but not the frenetic, abrasive kind of dubstep that’s been flooding the dance music scene for the past several years. It’s a much chiller, fluid kind of sound, bringing with it an entirely new take on the genre.
The title track, “Kinetik,” continues this subterranean vibe with a diverse palette of sounds that would be equally at home in a deep sea exploration as they would in an underground rave. The use of tribal percussion also strongly contributes to the deep-rooted primal instinct that comes packaged with this album. Listening to Kinetik is absolutely an meditative experience, and one which I would recommend to anyone.
As Phutureprimitive takes on a journey through the rest of his boundary-defying exploration of sound, we are treated to the entire gamut of digitally-produced sound. “The Changeling” immediately plucks on our heartstrings with the introduction of a sound reminiscent of the Wurlitzer electric piano, while “Center of Gravity” slices through our thoughts with hard-edged, awe-inspiring bass lines. “Ripple Effect” combines both of these elements into a downtempo groove of massive proportions, and we are guided through to the album’s conclusion with “Disappear,” the mellow final track that hypnotically whispers in our ears: “Every moment is made to disappear…so pull me under, drag me over, never let me go.”
At the end of this extraordinarily unique experience, I was left sitting in silence, reflecting back on what I just listened to. My conclusion? Such an adventure is indescribable through words, but if there’s one thing of which I can be absolutely certain, it’s that I just had the privilege of sharing in the very essence of Phutureprimitive’s identity – his soul. And for that, I am immensely grateful.