When we talk and read about music, “atmospheric” is an adjective that gets thrown around a lot, especially to describe a melody, song, or even a whole album. It may come across as redundant or lazy, but it’s there for a reason. In most cases, people use it as an alternative way to say that the music reminds them of something they could not describe otherwise. And it’s not always a question of eloquence, as much as it is a problem of uncertainty, of something you cannot exactly figure out. Still, it’s right there, on the tip of your tongue. It’s a problem you won’t get with Summertime Vibes.
In the case of flowless’s beat tape, I would readily claim that it’s not that often that I encounter albums that manage to be so devilishly consistent in the kind of atmosphere they invoke. It’s one of those rare cases where the album cover, the title of the release and the tracks included, as well as the actual music in them, all of these things work together in perfect unison to encapsulate a certain sense, state, emotion, feeling… or, yes, a particular atmosphere.
There is not that much I can say about the beat maker. It’s not because I wouldn’t love to, but it’s just the fact that Summertime Vibes marks his debut, and it came out at the end of 2020. There isn’t that much info about flowless on Spotify neither on social or the internet in general. This lack of bio background leaves with one thing to discuss, which also happens to be the only thing that matters. That is the music.
Summertime Vibes is a nice, tiny EP that consists of five beats, all of them falling short of the three-minute mark. Undoubtedly, it’s not the most original album title, and the same could be said about the actual content. The tracks are nothing experimental or innovative. They certainly wouldn’t dazzle you with brashness or unorthodox approach towards producing or composition. Here comes the question, however, are these the ingredients that make a good listen?
In the case of the beat tape, beauty hides in simplicity. You get a crystal-clear production, beneath which flowless creates what could be labeled as a five-part ode to the state of feeling good, relaxed, and sunny. It’s a record that is astonishingly wholesome in the way it unfolds. All of the five tracks have their own individual peculiarities. Yet, they are interwoven in one another, much like little waves crashing into each other on calm waters.
Flowless doesn’t use many instruments, nor does he fill the tracks with countless different layers. His restrained, at times minimalistic, approach towards producing adds a lot to the charm of the beat tape itself. From the first track, “Black Sea”, the music feels more like a soundtrack for an escape to a rocky beach, overlooking a tranquil scenery of vast blue waters, with the scorching sun on top of everything. Summertime Vibes is both a musical album and a landscape painting.
The beat tape by no means could be classified as boring, basic, or one-dimensional. In fact, for the sparse instruments and samples flowless relies on, it’s actually a pretty lively and versatile album. The opening track sets the tonality that is to come for the duration of the beat tape – graceful drumming, laid-back guitars, and delicate basslines, sporadically joined by keyboards here and there. The magic in the beat tape lies in how these components come together at certain times, how they play with each other, and how those intersections create a marvelously organic atmosphere of pure joy and celebration.
For example, tracks like “Black Sea” and “Summer Sunrise” have some beautiful guitar leads on top of the main harmony that brings out a slightly psychedelic tone, which stands surprisingly well amidst the rest of the music. The latter beat, along with “Night in Brasil”, also includes alluring vocals that feel more like another instrument in themselves, adding up to the ambiance in an amazingly appropriate way, rather than being something thrown for just the sake of its presence. You also have “Relajante en Rio” which is the one track when things get really funky, with the jumping bassline and the jazzy drumming locking in an amazing groove.
Summertime Vibes ends in a sublime fashion with the last track, “Special Day.” True to its name, it makes for more than a memorable listen. It’s worth hearing only for the fascinating saxophone solo that elegantly flows into an amazing closing duet between the bass and lead guitar. It’s a beautiful finishing touch to one of my new favorite beat tapes.