2018 has been a good start for chipmusic, and we can easily thank those who released music in the prior year for that. 2017 had some very high-key releases that managed to overshadow many others due to their surge in popularity and the quality of their music being nothing short of top-notch. As a community this is a great “problem” to have, but from an individual artist perspective it can be very tough for new or less-popular acts. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you might accidentally have slept on Business Pastel’s self-titled debut album, which deserves the attention of anyone in chipmusic that enjoys dance music with vibes of electro, future bass, d&b and hints or suggestions of other genres.
Still hot off their performance at MAGFest’s Chipspace, Business Pastel is an album of compelling LSDJ dance music that solidifies the vibe of the album with ‘Introverts’. There’s an easy to discern rhythm, a catchy hook, and easy to follow motif, but there’s more to the emotional weight of this song than what initially meets the ears. You can almost feel the lack of ease leading up through the first bridge and prechorus, and the drifting note slides in the melody, almost like a gift-wrapped internal state of feeling unsettled in an otherwise structured environment. Songs like ‘look’ and ‘laundry & ink’ really bring on a side of grandiose with their solid trap and future bass song formats while still maintaining that lingering feeling of unease through the album.
‘Emerald Lagoon’ takes on a more Knife City-esque approach to making their rhythm section a bit more typical of the 1-2 rhythm in a 4/4 beat while including noise channel sweeps and open hi-hat instrumentation for the upbeats. However, unlike the songs before it, there is no major payoff to things like beat drops, and after the quiet interlude it returns to the average dynamic level and continues on with the track. The interlude leading up to the reprise chorus had some very strong usage of staccato notes that contrasted well against the instrumentation normally used for the melody with a longer volume decay.
In what feels like a sense of foresight, each track sounds as if it would be easy to transition from one song to another, making ‘laundry & ink’ almost feel like a part-2 continuation to ‘Emerald Lagoon’. ‘laundry and ink’ returns to a more energetic dance vibe with cut-outs and other tropes found in the genre that are known to spice up any song. Complete with arps that sparkle behind the melody of the bridge before the outro, it almost gives it a brighter atmosphere to polish the mood of this album.
At that point in the album, ‘c-r-y-2-c-r-j’ stood out to me. Not only is its rhythmic composition slightly more daring with that rock rhythm bridge, but it’s swells of chord arps and bass rhythm that remind me strongly of Roboctopus’ album Disco.txt in many of the right ways. While similarities in dance music are always easy to spot, especially with house music and disco, something of this nature is always welcomed to me as a change of pace in the emotional dynamic. Another stand-out song would be ‘dog with an attitude’ for its changing time signatures, from a 4/4 to a 3/4 time signature with a deep swing beat to allow for a slower but more powerful kick rhythm, while layering on top trap rhythms and two-step without falling out of beat as it switches back to 4/4.
At this point the negative mood starts coming to a head with ‘elegantly disheveled’. Trap rhythms from the previous track help lay a foundation for the transition between the two songs, but also brings the tone back from slightly-moving-towards-light-hearted to gritty and downright mean with the bass line taking a primary line before a pulse melody kicks in nearly half-way through the song. Immediately after, ‘black nails’ takes you on an adventure through d&b, glitch and rock before landing at ‘safe areas’, a track that brings the emotional values to a more neutral position and a bit slower before building itself back into a driven, determined track that gives a feel of moving forward before the final track, ‘intertwine’. ‘Intertwine’, coincidentally, feels more like it would fit as an interlude within a reprisal medley, but still fits the overall aesthetic of a series of events that went from uneasy to resolution and causing a slight burst of positive energy before needing to slow down.
When it comes to a powerful product, two things you aim for are consistency and quality. Business Pastel‘s debut album is absolutely promising of what you can expect to come next. No matter the context, it’s bound to be outstanding and catch many more people’s attention very soon. You can find their album on Bandcamp and add it to your collection today.