IAMSOUND Records; 2016
We get a lot of music at KTUH. But when it comes to Soul and R&B stuff, our selection is on the smaller compared to the other genres. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found a new batch of fresh albums in the “new” section. Like with all new stuff, I will rip it onto my iTunes and listen to it later at a more convenient time. And I found a winner in Seramic’s latest EP “Found.” Four tracks that are worth listening to.
Right off the bat, “Waiting” opens the EP with a smooth electronic beat that grabs your attention. The vocals would seem like any other electronic track, but when the chorus kicks in you get hit with a funky beat that gets your head bumping. After the second chorus, your head will continue bumping because the “funk” aspect of the track just keeps going. And by the time the track ends, it leaves you wanting more and looking forward to the rest of the EP.
I would slip this track into a funk set with the likes of Parliament (or if you prefer Funkadelic, George Clinton, and any other incarnation of the group), Bootsy Collins, and other progressive funk bands of the 1970s and 1980s. I think this track would also do well somewhere in a ‘90s hip hop set. More specifically in west coast hip hop with the likes of Dr. Dre and Death Row Records. I haven’t actually tested this out, but my gut tells me that it would work. Anyway, continuing on!
The second track, “People Say,” opens slower than the first. But unlike the first track that had more of a funk to it, there’s a more soul or gospel vibe to it. It’s evident in the first several bars of the song, with a choir singing in the background. The vocals reflect more of a soul vibe with the lyric “I won’t let you down.” Although the track takes a more soulful aspect, it still very much modern. There’s just an aspect that I can’t place my finger on, that would make it fit better in newer R&B rather than older tracks.
It’s hard for me to figure out where I would place this in a set. Personally, I think it would be better in a set that features the likes of Neo-Soul acts such as Maxwell and Anderson.Paak. Although I think it may also be good with acts such as Jhené Aiko, some of Childish Gambino’s songs, Janelle Monáe and Bryson Tiller.
Before you know it, the third track is upon you. “Found,” (for which the EP is titled after) continues the soulful tone that “People Say” left off in. As the track continues, the use of electronic beats and instrumentation becomes more evident. But as I continued listening I kept thinking Hozier would go great as a lead-in or a follow up track to it. There are elements of this song that has similarities to Hozier. Maybe it’s the use of the chorus and the soulful vocals along with the increasing crescendo, but it had me getting very enthusiastic with my head bopping.
Sadly, the fourth and final track has come. “The Things You Do” starts off soft, but upbeat and it brings the funk back into the mix. The vocals remain soulful, but it also seems reminiscent of a clean R. Kelly track from the ‘90s (don’t hold me to that, but my gut says something along those lines). It’s a mellower upbeat song, but it gets you into a feel-good mood that will definitely get your head bopping and foot tapping. It’s a love track through and through. If I were to play this in a set, I would either lead into or follow this track up with an old-school Usher track.
Overall, this album combines the current landscape of R&B with its use of electronic beats and instrumentation with the old school style of funk for two of its tracks. It may not be the definition of funk, but it definitely has elements of it. Seramic also incorporates other aspects of R&B, such as soul, into the other two tracks. The artist has you guessing with each track and how he’s going to follow the previous track up. Again, even though it is only four tracks long, it is worth the listen and worth remembering. I think we will hear more from Seramic in the future and hopefully he will have much success. But until then, “Found” is a great introduction to the modern R&B landscape and also to Seramic himself. I would give this EP a solid 4/5 stars. Personally, I like all of the tracks (I mean, there’s only 4 of them) and I would play all of them on my show at some point.
Also, Seramic collaborated with Bootsy Collins on a track that you can find on his Soundcloud. It’s a pretty solid, and if you enjoyed “Found” you should definitely check it out.