Yesterday while digging through the on-line record store crates I like to call the Internet, I came across an unbelievable EP from LA-based producer/singer Luke Cage aka CAVES. The very first moment I pressed play, my journey for exploring ended. There was nothing else that I was going to stumble into and find that was more gold than this EP.
"While You Were Partying, I Was Dying," is the first full EP from the Caves. While only four songs in total, you feel like you listened to an entire full length 12 song LP. With vibes of 60s soul and funk and keeping up to date with the lo-fi, soul searching vibe that is present in many of today's up and coming bands, you find yourself lost in the moment. What more is there to ask of a song? What more is there to ask of a beat? While many people think that the neo-crooning styles of Cee-lo and Bruno Mars are what is "hip" and "now," they might want to reconsider that fact while listening to Caves. This is how it is done. There is no feeling of over-singing. No notion of trying hard to get the message across. No feeling that the artist is trying hard. Caves is simply just doing everything right and doing it beautifully.
The first track "Eleven Twenty" begins with the slow build up that makes me feel like I'm about to watch an important scene in Kill Bill. Then the voice starts right when the beat picks up and you feel transported to a different era. The use of the horns is striking and perfect. It's not trying to over power the song, but fits right where it's supposed to be. That's what makes this different than the neo-soul singers that are trying to hard. "Please figure me out, I've waited too long." Then to follow with "Please figure me out, I've been hated too long." Nothing strikes emotion like a line like that.
CAVES - Eleven Twenty by Absent Fever
When I first heard the second track "Final Decision", I automatically thought of a different song. It took me forever to go through my catalog to find the track, but finally I did. Upon the first 8 seconds of the song, I it reminded me of "Undertow"(edit) by Warpaint. It was nice to see a song that I liked similar to a new artist I was starting to enjoy. Then, the differences in the songs appeared fast. Caves starts crooning. The song makes me feel like he is trying to explain and justify himself, while apologizing. This time, instead of ever present horns, the steady use of the drums and keyboards find you relaxing and wishing you sitting on your porch. "If I can write you a song, would you listen."
Caves - Final Decision by boriskostic2
"310" finds the artist mellowing out but picking up a little bit of the tempo. This track finds a more chillwave vibe to it. While the keyboards to start make you think of a low key song, the drums start and you find yourself floating in the skies. With a very Empire of the Sun melodic turn, Caves drastically changes the vibe of the EP. This is done masterfully. He doesn't try to over emphasize the song nor the beat. The piano is what sets the tone and also what keeps the pace and peace. You would be hard pressed to find another artist that is doing this right now with as much grace and poise as Caves is.
The final track "1993" finds us closing out the EP with the same feel as the opening. The drumbeat and the keys find that you are automatically thrown into the mix. As Caves starts singing, you feel dragged in even more. What I find remarkable is that he still keeps it lo until the hook comes in. The difference being that the hook is not vocal, but instrumental. He changes the reverb just enough that you forget there is singing in the song. That to me is the genius in the song.
Caves - 1993 by Gluttony Is The New Black
While the songs don't have that prolific lyrical content, they have what is needed and that is just enough. While many neo-crooners are trying to over-emphasize the vocals, and the background singers as well, Caves puts the vocals right where they need to be. He makes the rhythms the focus and everything else falls right into place where it belongs. I feel that if this came out in the 60s/70s time frame, you would have heard these songs a long time ago in samples from hip-hop geniuses such as The RZA, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and others. What I hope for in the future is more genius lo-fi funk from Caves.
Here is the best part of his music, you can get it free from Absent Fever. There is a link for the mediafire download page. Just click and download. Hope you enjoy it, cause I certainly do.