Hypnotically tapping, pressing, sliding and twiddling his way to a cohesive artistic statement, Blue Mountains hip-hop producer Tony Kabanov recently released an independent, instrumental, debut album on December 3rd, as Caustic Yoda. Primarily
known for his production and beat-making work with Cooking With Caustic,
Two Toes, Otherside, Bomb Threat,
and Goro, Tony abandoned the use of a DAW, or Digital
Audio Workstation, to record live versions of the ten refined experiments that comprise Mutant Beats. In essence, this release is a live album,
free from the dehumanising tediousness of computer technology. A DAW was only used in the recording of these tracks, capturing the genuine sound of
gear such as Tony’s trusty turntables and such advanced synthesiser technologies as a Live MIDI Pad Controller, an Elektron Digitakt, and a BOSS Digital
Sampler. Whilst being a DJ at heart, a busy syncopation of limbs and an absence of automatic time-keeping hardware got Tony thinking like a drummer.
He actually overdubbed a small amount of drums on this release, too, along with a few organic recordings of percussion, synth, and some other things.
Remarkably, these are all common practices for electronic music producers who wish to elevate their creativity away from the constraints of screens.
As Tony described his process, he told us that Mutant Beats was created by “live hardware sequencing a bunch of loops to make a song on the fly
and record it live”. Furthermore, we’re told that listeners are encouraged to conduct their own sonic experiments by playing vinyl of the album at
different speeds. “[The pieces] are all pretty slow and are made from sounds pitched down a long way, so speeding them up can go far”, Tony says. “They’re
kind of designed for DJ’s to mess with. They aren’t intended for rappers. It’s not genre specific. This is intended as instrumental music, to be listened
to as is.” Although one could easily envision the likes of Otherside’s Hammy or Wise Guy spitting bars over the majority of
the album’s slow ‘boom-bap’, certain stand-out tracks like ‘Anti-Matter’, ’Scuba Suite’ and ‘Juno Landing’ transport these pieces to a different plane
of expression. Fulfilling Tony’s integral intent, the offbeat density and ambient psychedelia of instrumental spontaneity allows this music to form
perfect mental landscapes.
If you’re interested in acquiring a hard copy for yourself, copies and a test pressing are available from The Velvet Fog, Katoomba’s beloved record store. For urban listeners, Newtown’s Papa Disquo and 567 King also have copies in stock. The records have been pressed with a unique red and black splatter design! Follow a link to Caustic Yoda’s Bandcamp page
HERE. In some very special news, the first launch party of Mutant Beats occurred yesterday, (on Wednesday
December 11th), at Redfern's Hustle & Flow Bar.
Hosting the night were Izzy and Mighty Ash, with Kho and DJ Haru on the bill. Caustic Yoda will be hitting the city again on
Sunday, December 15th to perform at another Mutant Beats launch at The Lansdowne's
Freshly Squeezed Sundays' Xmas Party,
with Fly Waves, 2oolit, DJ Yaknowcheck, DJ Cost, DJ Platterpush, DJ Chris Munky, DJ Grandpapa Smurf and MC P. Smurf. On Saturday, December 21st, a third launch party will take place at The Baroque Room's Toasted Loops in Katoomba, with P.Smurf, Joe Snow,
KNT, Merekat, Unomindz, and Yungbae. Busy times for independent hip-hop!
Words by Corin Shearston
Pictures courtesy of Tony Kabanov AKA Caustic Yoda