Track Report #3: Thin Places, Osunlade, Zaetheone

It’s been a long time coming, but the Track Report is finally back! As always, this is the place where I showcase three singles I’ve been enjoying in St Louis music and break them down for your own enjoyment.

This time around we have a bit of a throwback rocker, a rambunctious and soulful house rager, and a short and sweet R&B vignette with a twist. Let’s get started:

Mystic Light by Thin Places

This January offering from new STL rock outfit Thin Places shows a lot of promise in the lineup. The tune’s instrumentation is janky and floaty in a pleasant way and despite the straightforward form of the song, the references to British Invasion seen in the textures and vocal intentions add a sort of morphed personality to the track that helps tie the ideas together. The instrumental sections between verses are particularly engaging thanks to the bounce of the percussive guitar lead that characterizes them. The outro is also welcome– a fake ending leads the composition into a repetitive loop colored by reverse delay and psychedelia in what feels like a direct nod to studio Beatles practices. Overall a very enjoyable song that should keep fans of the style excited for what the Thin Places offer next.

I Knee’d U by Osunlade

Legendary dance music producer and leader of the acclaimed Yoruba Records Osunlade dropped this soulful piece of house into the wide web in February in the form of a double A-side digital single. The first track presented named I Knee’d is a straightforward piece of dance carried in equal parts by the sample that titles it, the auxiliary percussion adorning the relentless four on the floor kick pattern, and a thick and rick piano chord that bounces with emotion atop the ruckus. I’m especially drawn to the sections towards the end of the track: clearing the texture of the percussive elements floating above helps showcase the beautiful piano work Osunlade laid down for this cut and fills the mix with feeling and depth. The re-edit presented next titled I Knee’d U plays with very similar information, but opts to focus on traditional drum machine patterns with its 16th note hats rather than lay into the more percussive and tropical feel of I Knee’d. It’s a very solid release deserving of due spin time now that the weather’s giving us what we want and the sun’s shining bright while we dance.

Isley by Zaetheone

R&B vocalist Zaetheone came through in February with a new single titled Isley. It’s very short and more of a small vignette than a full release, but I found myself captivated by the song’s personality and presentation from my first listen. The production is especially exciting: the beat throws all its pads, drums and sound bits into a pool of reverb and mush. Once in there, everything gets faded in and out at seemingly unpredictable rates to create a disorienting feel that floats and sinks in surprising ways. Small glitch breaks reminiscent of modern alternative hip hop production also contribute to the confusion. Zae’s vocal performance is simple but effective, with vocalization and repetition as the clear focus. Her timbre drenched in process and tagged by delay meshes perfectly with the erratic beat and it all results in an engaging and exciting musical idea that I wish went on for a little bit longer.

Thank you for reading and listening! I will see you on the next Track Report.

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