Tuesday, January 19, 2021
LA producer Elusive steps into a fidgety 'Ambient Void'

LA producer Elusive steps into a fidgety ‘Ambient Void’

The scene fixture's latest builds minaiture worlds from cascading synths, vinyl crackles, and flush atmospherics.

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For his 20-plus year career and the latter part of this decade, Elusive—the Los Angeles based producer—has remained steadfast about that work.

Making music with like-minded creatives who understand experimentation keeps the future close. By stretching out his musical base of collaborators and working beyond the hardware/software aspect of his electronic music landscape, an eclectic sonic reach dips into adjacent areas where hip-hop, fusion, soul, and jazz share space… Grinding out those beat tapes and EPs which feature percussive outlines, moody diagrams and odd time signatures has fed Aaron Koslow’s choices to elicit a forward-leaning type of arrangement.

A production output that dates back to the late ’90s, making beats on analog gear and Akai MPC for collaborations with Abstract Rude and Myka 9 from Freestyle Fellowship prepped his work for the future. Alpha Pup became his recording label home following inspiring sets at LA’s Low-End Theory club night circa 2010.

Since he’s moved about projects that involve live jazz instrumentation-pieced together at various studios across Los Angeles-to solo projects based out of the chop shop of dicing samples and tapping out new pathways from the mighty boom of Elvin Jones drum.

Afterthoughts, his 23-track fleshed out watercolor, that acutely pointed out where modal and digitized sounds work together best, from September, a front and back-loaded pastiche of various colors and voices moving through fidgety bump topography. It featured LA vocal progressives Nite Jewel, Jimetta Rose, Natasha Agrama, Mali Hayes, Nikeita Crichlow, and Olivia Hale. The voices of these women, exquisite musicians in their own right, balanced out the project with a harmonized definition. Making it the closest Kozlow has ever come to producing a neo-soul release.

So, true to form, Ambient Void, his most current release, pivots back to beat tape programming.
Like a boxer readying to shed weight, getting back into the gym, Elusive uses these 17 tracks (not one over three minutes) to focus on hand-eye coördination. Pound that body bag. Switch up combinations. Tighten that jab.

And he does.

Besides “In The Clouds,” a welcoming lead-off replete with ideas reminiscent of Fusion Swing from 2017,
Ambient Void crackles along in newfound beat composition. From the double-time, woodblock cadence at the top of “Level Up” to the warbled crab stumble wonk of “Avoid”, these rhythmic ideas, revised sideways experiments, presents a whole other style of knock.

Not quite the auditory comfort food Mndsgns dealt out on “Snaxx,” his “trying to be cerebral—feeling psychedelic”, beat tape from this summer or the sleep-deprived illbient weary R&B feels of “Yasmin,” from Kumail this fall.

Nope, Koslow IS havin’ it all. Doling out the tripped-up 4/4 meter on tracks like “Get 2 Clappin” and “Space Disco.” No sleeping tryptophan material here. Packed with a healthy dose of vocal “yeahhhhs” tossed in for swag emphasis, we head-bobbing. Even when the tempo drops a bit low on “Chocolat Crossaint” or double-times on “Love Handles,” flush atmospherics with cascading synths, vinyl crackles, and fussy circuit board ephemera makes the session, whichever one you are having, proper.

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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