Now split between Boston and Czechoslovakia, Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic first formed their Arms And Sleepers partnership in 2006 from the ashes of their former band The List Exists, and in the twelve years since, they’ve been responsible for an impressive discography of 26 releases. While their initial releases saw the duo associated with the US post-rock scene, it didn’t take long before they settled on a more hiphop / beats centred sound oriented towards instrumental tracks, with the occasional addition of guest vocalists.
This seventh album ‘Find The Right Place’ offers up the duo’s first release on the Berlin-based Pelagic label, and sees them plying a lush, indie-hiphop / beats laden path that calls to mind peers like Anticon or Stones Throw more than anything else.
‘It Was Us’ sees bell-like percussion twinkling like stars against dusty hiphop beats while bright synth pads provide a warm bed for weathered sounding sampled soul vocals, the sudden breakdown into more b-boy centred grooves nicely balanced out by the blissful backing vocals and phased strings that follow. ‘Be That Way’ goes for a more bass music oriented approach as Steffaloo’s ghostly pitch-shifted vocals float against fat distorted bass swells and mesmerising synth trails, the crunching off-step beats that roll beneath anchoring the vaporous elements around a muscular headnod groove.
Mid-set highlight ‘I’m Not Sour, You’re A Bitch’ meanwhile starts out toying with massed layers of Brazilian percussion and stuttered melodic tones, before settling into the sort of moody cinematic trip-hop breaks you’d associate with Mo’ Wax, before ‘Woke To Death’ sees guest MC Amber Ryann spearing the vacuous money-oriented side of hiphop in favour of more targeted politics over eerie orchestral sample loops, clattering snare rolls and digitally stretched backing harmonies, the subtle jazzy keys that surface towards the track’s second half nicely counterbalancing the gritty-sounding beats. Alternately chilled and uplifting, ‘Find The Right Place’ is well worth checking out.