UofMixtape: Warm sounds

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 5:00pm

In a recently uncovered 2013 interview, Kanye West talks about J Dilla and his role in shaping hip hop through the early 2000s. West expresses his adoration, claiming that Dilla could produce warm sounds that could still “cut through speakers.” West follows up, adding that many producers, “can make music that knocks [yet] the sound is usually colder … but Dilla, everytime. That kick just sat so perfectly, his swings, his shuffles on his beats, his snare choices, the way he sampled shit.”

Warm connotes the comfortable, the tender, the personal. Cold suggests the taxing, the inflexible, the impersonal. The distinction seems to divide music into two opposing camps. Yet, the division does not neatly map across genre lines. For every “Higher Ground” there is a “Ryders,” for every “Battery” there is a “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).”

Music is an extension of the artist. While cold tunes evoke head nods and expressions of “that shit bangs,” warm melodies ask us to dig deeper into our aesthetic sensibilities. Warm sounds invite us into her inner world: one afflicted by both harmonies and contradictions.

I find music at its most expressive when percussion, brass and vocals dominate the foreground. Add strings to the arrangement and you approach perfection. Warm Sounds reflects that aesthetic, fusing influences from R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop and World. Enjoy.