Your mind is focused on its task at hand: perhaps a form of work, or maybe on doing nothing at all. The background music assists you just as it should, a pandering facilitator. But every once in a while, something obscures that seamless wall of sound and demands your attention, forcing you to tune in and take note. This is the experience of listening to Desmond Cheese, a duo of beatmakers from Brisbane.
Epitomised by Dope VHS Master, from the start we’re drawn in when introduced to a hypnotic guitar riff accompanied by an unhurried drum beat; the former developing into an emotive melody which becomes the focal recurrence of the song. A clear influence of jazz is heard not only in the inventive solos embarked on by both the guitar and keys, but also in the deliberate choice of filters and sounds which enhance the warming groove set firmly in the song.
While the entirety of their 2010 debut album, Fame and Fortune, is a lot to cheer about (especially being a free download), one of the other standouts is Polyfizzal Drizzal. The fundamental elements that recur throughout the album, composed of the guitar and drum beat, again shine through instantly. But this time, roles are reversed with the beat maturing into the main fixation, defiantly provoking a nod of the head which is hard to refuse. Clever production and interesting sampling for both the beat sounds and intersections demonstrate the undeniable influence of the electronic field, drawing similarities to Air and Dimlite.
The second album, Space and Time (2012), sees the duo delving into the creative possibilities of production with further manipulation of samples and sounds, giving an interesting and deliberate spacey feel. The opener Dubbin Out is the standout, with a real mix of influences on display; also drawing similarities to early Bonobo. Over the top of a meditative sample of water rushing onto a shore, what sounds like a mandolin is played in an Asian-fusion style, like that of Bei Bei and Shawn Lee. The song is then structured layering a lazy beat among other sounds, carefully chosen to compliment the melody, culminating in an eerie finale before bringing back the beautiful main riff.
Their latest album is due to drop shortly, and is sure to be a hit if the last two are anything to go by. Watch this space.