Sal Dulu has been producing tracks for sometime that seem informed by a combination of 20th century classical music, ambient and deep house but often organized around creating immersive and entrancing hip-hop beats. His debut album Xompulse puts all of these interests on display and it seem uneven if you’re listening for strict stylistic coherence. But the result is more like what you might get from a J Dilla record with the legendary producer’s own proclivity for putting his experimental impulses forward and forcing the listener to take on his imaginative sonic worlds on their own terms. So here Sal Dulu connects hip-hop tracks with connective, introspective pieces. The title track placed between “Zumo” and “Alien Boy 96” is an introspective piece comprised of impressionistic, lonely piano lines that serves as a complete sonic break near the middle of a set of chill but energetic beats much as later “Just Like Sonnenalle Blues” takes the listener on a detour through streaming guitar blues and processed gleaming sounds that shimmer out in sonic soft focus. The whole albums feels like Sal has absorbed a great slice of bedroom pop programming, chillwave, vaporwave and underground hip-hop and sound design composition to create an album that is a modern emotional equivalent of late night jazz lounge with all the elements vibing masterfully on final track “Buzzcut” which feels like collage pop as much as acid jazz but with the rhythmic breaks so smooth and entrancing that even the relatively abrupt ending isn’t jarring. Listen to Xompulse on Soundcloud.
The Japanese dialogue as if from a movie heard from another room and the horn that brings you into “Duluoz Dream” by Sal Dulu suggests a sort of layers of memory. When the piano comes in and the voice calls out a name is it Jack? As in Jack Duluoz, the name Jack Kerouac gave himself as he wrote about himself in his book Visions of Cody? The sound of tape rewinding and playing back, piano chords echoing, IDM-esque percussion tapping out a beat that carries the time forward while the other elements occupy divergent frames of temporal reference. The late night, downtempo jazz aesthetic of the song blurs the line between the Kerouac references and Deckard’s “Unicorn Dream” from the director’s cut of Blade Runner. The song taps into how the mind can make those connections almost intuitively so that they may heighten the meaning of each while expressing a real moment contemplating a fond memory, a heightened and even fantastical reality preferable to the one you exist in now as your mind reflects to the past or projects into an alternate present or a future that may never be. It is an emotional collage crafted as a song. Listen to “Duluoz Dream” on Soundcloud and follow Sal Dulu at the links below.
On “Tyko” Sal Dulu demonstrates how one can take familiar and established musical ideas and transform them into something fresh and stirring to the imagination. Structurally and sonically saunters into your brain like a downtempo track with the lush atmospheres, introspective soundscapes and a sense of depth. The bright synth shimmer that cycles in an out is like a reminder that the real world awaits your return from this trip into dreamlike reverie. The vocals are used as a sampled mantra more than conscious wording. At times the song is reminiscent of Moby’s most blissed out moments, at others like a mid-90s trip hop act going fully abstract and expressing pure feeling and the ghosts of pleasant memories in sound. Listen to “Tyko” on Soundcloud and follow Sal Dulu at the links provided.
In the beginning of “Buzzcut” by Sal Dulu we hear a layer of samples and a hazy dreamlike melody that give the impression of waking up mid-morning while people around you taking in various media and it somehow forms a collage of noises like an abstract impressionist tone poem. Then StaHHr comes in with a stream of words in short bursts throughout the song in her inimical style that sketches creative intentions and aspirations while making poetic commentary on everyday experiences and rendering them urban mythical with colorful interpretations of these seemingly mundane events. If one were to make an immediate comparison it would be to cLOUDDEAD circa Ten or some of Doseone’s solo pre and post cLOUDDEAD. That’s to say in the creative contextualization of words and the weaving of an evocative backdrop of sound like a multimedia experience in an audio track. Listen below and follow Sal Dulu at the links provided.