SoBe - Temperate Climates


Despite looking forward to this project, I still managed to sleep. SoBe’s debut joint Temperate Climates dropped back on June 22nd, the day after Solstice. I bought it — I’m really about that life — and despite only being five tracks long, I gotta say, this is in the top 5% of local projects I’ve ever copped. This album is fucking ferocious.

Based on sonics alone, I’m assuming that SoBe is playing guitar on this, and cutting some tasty takes, too. I’m guessing his drum programming comes from a lifetime of soaking in tricky acid-head jazz, somewhere after Spin magazine launched “Electronica,” and before IDM became EDM and sold out to hedge funds. Also, a whooooole lot of J. Dilla.

Kids talk a lot about “vibes” these days, too much, but it’s the essence of what SoBe is doing here. His pockets are deep, and his melodic creativity allows him to really explore the spaces he’s carved out. More importantly, his restraint as a producer keeps it from turning into some kind of noodle-gasm jam session. Temperate Climates is extremely polished, and I get the sense this young man has a future as an executive producer / A&R type.

Speaking of which, the sequencing here is also excellent. Each of these tracks represent very different feels & spaces, but every transition here works. Part of that may be thanks to Loupo, credited as guest producer on two of these cuts. He’s always had a spooky gift for taking even the simplest loops to the next level with carefully sculpted arrangements — as much of a songwriter as a beatmaker. That’s in full effect on “Koosh” and “Coast to Coast.”

Opening jam “North Beach” is another co-production collaboration, this time featuring the tag team of David Chief and Notation. They are both busy sonic architects in their own right. The track is over-flowing with ideas, but it’s never cluttered or rushed. My personal favorite cut, though, would have to be the closer “Reminiscing,” perhaps the most guitar-centric composition on the album. As any old pro will tell you, ballads are harder than rock songs, and SoBe kills this melancholy outro movement.

So: Temperate Climates is both very dope, and worth your money. SoBe’s style is like George Benson and Aphex Twin getting together to make instrumental hip hop. It’s consistently interesting and rewards repeated listening. Go check it out.

One more thing.

Since a lot — too much — of the content on VTHH is geared towards artists and promoters and young heads getting into the business: a word about that name. Building a catalog as “SoBe” is going to be a tough gig, considering it is also a soft drink brand owned by Pepsi. You can buy that shit in a gas station, today, right now.

Calling yourself Sprite or Starbucks would yield about the same results, but I do respect the audacity of taking on Goliath & Leviathan. Assholes with MBAs and expensive ties rule our burning world, and I salute anyone aiming to inflict headaches upon those scum, however small. Just be sure you aren’t inflicting headaches on yourself, too.

Justin Boland