Dan McKie’s and Mathieu Basi drop “Kumpai”
Caught up in all of the rush and emotion that comes with a killer beat that sizzles the dance floor, we often neglect to notice the little details that make the sonic complexities of a track as powerful as they can be. Inside a thrilling beat is a million intricacies working in tandem to create a giant, shifting wave that can overtake a crowded room like a thick, merciless cloud of psychedelic smoke. Dan McKie’s latest collaboration with Mathieu Basi, “Kumpai” is the smorgasbord of rich audio that house and techno fans have been anticipating to soundtrack the upcoming summer of 2018, and it’s as nimble a track as the genre has to offer, not to mention an easy contender for hottest rhythm I’ve heard this year.
The beauty of electronica is its ability to find shelter from the chaotic discord of the competitive Top 40 market while still having a massive impact on the overall direction of pop music. That said, McKie isn’t trying to fly under the radar with his work, and if he is, he’s doing a bad job of it. He and his 1980 Recordings imprint are making a big splash with the artists that they’re bringing together in the studio, and “Kumpai” is yet another fine example of the depth in song craft and production mastery that they have to offer. The elegance of a track like “Kumpai” lies in its understated demonstration of surreal minimalism, not dissimilar to the entrancing pluck of a sitar. There’s plenty of zany fidgeting that reverberates against the percussion parts, but it never feels like the track is about to suddenly go flying off the rails and into the crowd. Everything is very neatly controlled in an orderly fashion, and there are moments in “Kumpai” where it definitely feels like we’re staring inside an aquarium containing an assortment of flamboyant creatures cohabiting together.
The future is upon us, and in every single aspect of our lives we’re finding ways to minimalize the struggle and inconvenience of everyday life in favor of a more streamlined existence. While electronic music is a big part of our impending generation of artists’ development, it doesn’t have to be representative of a regression in creative composition. Producers like Dan McKie are charged with keeping the organic nature of music alive while guiding us into the forthcoming gilded age of artificially generated melody, and a track like “Kumpai” is a promising glimpse into what we can expect from both he and the 1980 Recordings family entering that age. After all, if we are ever to see electronica find complete dominance in pop music (and moreover the consumers who keep it in business), we’re going to have to see more artists embracing eclecticism and heterogeneous approaches to recording and mixing. Despite what a lot of record company executives might be wishing and praying for right now, audiences just aren’t interested in any more backwards-looking tracks that essentially reboot harmonies that we were fond of two generations ago. We want something as enigmatic and thought provoking as the unforgiving times that we’re living in.