Braidz – Painting Pictures / Mixtape (2014)

Normally I’m blogging about local bands I have come across that I want to promote. My tastes are not limited to only rock/punk and hardcore bands..of course..when you love music you tend to indulge in a broader variety of stuff because you see the value of the differences in the art form. So in saying that…I’m going to cast a wider net to include other styles I’m enjoying and want to push out there.

Braidz is a local hip hop artist from up in the hills of the Yarra Ranges. I’m noting this because it highlights that he isn’t surrounded by crew, clubs and heaps of scene stuff to fuel his passion. He has no real proving ground up there either. Largely the hip hop scene in Melbourne still centres in and around the city and inner suburbs. Why..? I don’t know. Doesn’t really work that way with hardcore.

So when this guy spends …honestly I don’t even know how long..developing his flow, lyrics, concepts and recording…he’s doing it cos he loves it and he probably needs to do it or risk loosing the plot. It’s like that for creative types! (Eg. Track #6 ‘Gotta Get Away)

So anyway here’s a collection of brave and honest music…very personal lyrics, quite open about what he thinks, transparent reflections on all types of issues…mental health, drug use, negative peers, lost friends and a bunch of other social issues. You’ll hear references to a lot of everyday life things..I love hearing messages that I can relate to! (Track #5 ‘Moron’ nails this for me!) Braidz has a clear delivery and is really easy to understand. He drops some double time, he paces himself well and knows how to use tone rather than just ‘one pitch the whole way through’. There’s some vocal doubling too which sometimes doesn’t quite sit with the top vocal..and that’s just a little thing that will get better with time cos it’s mostly on point! The many guests (whilst I didn’t know a single name) add a great dynamic and different voices to the material…and some of these guys can go ffffffast man!

Of course you’ll hear a fierce amount of language and sometimes a few more challenging terms. Probably my biggest stumbling block with this release over all…is the use of derogatory terms like bitch/faggots/cunt etc. Like…as an artist…as a wordsmith…the English language (as stupid as it is) has a lot of colour and applications. For all the effort that has been invested in the clever phrasing, interesting metaphors, deliberate pacing, syllables, breathing and creative energy…why bring it down with tasteless stuff like that? Anyway….

Musically this mixtape borrows from a huge array of supporting instrumental tracks…I hear a lot of guitar lines (#3 Bring Me Down), actual bass lines and some great drum samples that feel and sound live (or at least we’re live at time or recording!) and there’s plenty of electronic stuff too…but the presence of actual instruments draws me in way more than traditional hip hop beats every time. I got nothing against drum machines and MPC’s but yeh..that’s just too forgettable. The opening track ‘Painting Pictures’ makes great use of these band-dynamics and allows space for vocals, kicks in with the beat and drops off all as if they were players all right there tracking with Braidz. I feel like this could really work live and probably serve him well to stand out amongst the many others in the field. Maybe not. I dunno.

Track #9 ‘Till My Voicebox Breaks’ is over a solid melodic dub step track and there’s this great violin line that comes over and yeh…it really works. Last track #17 ‘Suicide Watch’ is over the top of this huge dirty wobbly bass and dub step loop…again it connects with Braidz delivery and energy and it totally works.

To me…this all sounds like an artist trying things out, not so much looking for a style but taking some risks and having a go with some different idea’s. If anything it showcases what this guy can do and suggests that he’s got some legit skills here. ‘Painting Pictures’ makes for some great driving music, has some funny moments and gets your head moving! I would have preferred it to be a shorter release though…17 is probably too many tracks for one sitting (though 3 of them are bonus tracks) and maybe the impact of say ..the best 10-11 songs would make it a real head turner.

I reckon there’s a contender here, find him on facey, go get this for free/pay what you want over on his bandcamp and see for yourself.

RIYL: early ILLY, Bliss n Esso, Pez, Aussie hip hopin general!

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