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Live Review: Bluestaeb finesses groove on the soulful 'Mind (feat. Noah Slee and MAÏA)'

14 March 2018 | 6:44 pm | Kyle Fensom

Bluestaeb approaches the soul-infused lead single from his upcoming record with a groove-first methodology that earns comparisons to Kaytranada and J Dilla

Berlin/Paris-based producer BLUESTAEB has announced his forthcoming album, Everything Is Always a Process, by sharing the record’s lead single, ‘Mind’, a collaboration with New Zealand soul singer NOAH SLEE and Australian multi-disciplinary artist, MAÏA.  According to Bluestaeb, the soul-infused cut is the result of a long gestation process, having begun production in 2015 before being born through back-and-forth emailing of beats between Noah and himself: “Noah did a first version of the song and then invited MAÏA to join and bring another dimension to the track”.

The track, which works basically as an exercise in groove and vibe-maintenance trading in an underlying neo-soul sensibility, is divided into two sections. The dreamy first half of the track sees Noah and MAÏA trading repeated lines, riding over a lackadaisical, leisurely beat and warm, vintage electric piano chords that wash in and out like waves. A subtle shift halfway through the song, however, introduces more live instrumentation into the fold, with silky guitar licks, touches of melodic ad-libs and cascading keys rendering Bluestaeb’s original groove in resplendent, warm-hued colour.

Like any good groove, the instrumental seemingly drops out of nowhere, preceded only by a brief keys-lead intro, and disappears again as if it were never there. In the meantime, Bluestaeb is content to let the beat ride itself, taking a backseat to his own production as it takes on a life of its own until he decides it’s exhausted itself. In a methodology that places him in similar step to other beat-conscious producers such as KAYTRANADA and J DILLA, Bluestaeb treats groove as a suspended moment of time – it should grab you and never hold up, but it should also never go on long enough for you to feel it holding you hostage. On ‘Mind’, he achieves that balance with soulful finesse.

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IMAGE: Robert Winter