QPE – Gentrifried (theAgriculture)

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QPE is an instrumental hip-hop project by New York based Kacy Wiggins, part of the ‘the agriculture’ stable of down-tempo electronic musicians. The moniker; quiet personal electronics is a fitting one in that it is a perfect description of the warm basslines and crisp dub beats of Gentrifried. Gentrifried is a floating, subtly funky stream of tracks with a minimalist tinge. Not much on this album is superfluous, just a soulful surging journey through the world of QPE. The stripped back style has attracted the self-created term Hip Hop Nouveau which definitely alludes to the sophistication present in the sounds on this album. Using squelchy warm synth sounds, warm reverb on the drum tracks and a somehow never cheesy delayed piano effect the first two tracks Satellite and Stare bleed seamlessly together as an almost liquid introduction to the Gentrifried world. Production wise this record is clever; QPE uses a restrained palette to create fresh and flowing tracks deftly mapping the groove based terrains he creates. The added the use of subtle beat changes and the spatiality of his instrumental parts results in a strong arsenal of sonic tools. All the tracks on Gentrifried are loop based compositions, layers of groove building and stripping back over time, but somehow this potential tedium is lost in the ethereal and floating sounds interwoven into the structure, the tracks Lapland and Donna Martin Graduates are prime examples of this. The cover art left me a bit downtrodden, with some interesting comic book style inner images, the package is surrounded by ‘photoshop-py’ city scenes and generic fonts which don’t quite give this package the gleam it should have. If you love the down tempo ‘beats at sunrise’ vibe and some abstract head-bobbing though QPE will see you through.

Scot Cotterell

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