Published: March 15, 2013
By: Lisa Disinger
Recently released Terry-D is the fourth full-length album published in a long line of productions from the exponentially popular, bass-centric performer Jake Atlas, a.k.a. Thriftworks. His most recent creations fall into the realm of modern, downtempo soundscapes, a signature vibe coming from the Left Coast, abstract and nebulous in nature.The Thriftworks spin on this elusively classified genre orbits around a minimal hip-hop sound, full fat, all-encompassing, low frequency lines at syrupy tempos.
With little variation from track-to-track, Terry-D is what you would consider a "mood album." A narrow set of emotions are established and cultivated throughout the collection, letting the listener experience these feelings in depth, and for all of their complexities. An exoskeleton of highs and lows, with little in between, and thin use of layering creates a feeling of vast, empty, reverberating space; angsty and a little bit weird. Several quips of vocoded vocals appear throughout the album, skewed and unintelligible, contributing to the emotions of the work in their mood provoking sound, rather than in their lyrical content.
For this round of tunes, Atlas leaves behind the overindulgent, oscillating warbles that have become ubiquitous in bass culture for more true, resonant tones. His use of simple, sustained sounds are powerful in creating the unique sound that is Thriftworks. Title track "Terry-D" is a perfect example of the album's defining hallmarks; strong timbred bass, monotone, eschewed vocals, light percussion (mostly ride cymbal), and a descending, bubbly motive that appears continuously, sometimes taking the shape of harps or sirens. Other stand-outs include "Grass Knives" featuring Russ Liquid and "House Sitter," which rely on jazz based samples of sultry female vocals, swinging vibraphone, and reed instrument mimics, full of vibrational texture.
A small dose of conscious awareness and nature-loving-tree-hugging is offered in track seven, "Smoky the Bear." Now, I'm not an expert on this subject (hence why I write for a music publication) but in my understanding, the Western portion of our nation has been suffering from an increasing amount of wildfires over the past several years, aligning with record-breaking average temperatures on a global scale, and massive droughts. The message being delivered here is one we could all benefit from; be aware of the environmental changes that are happening around us, and know what you can do to help.
Once native to AZ, Atlas now considers Berkeley, CA home base, although his current rise in popularity will see him in locations far and wide. An interview in 2012* quoted his desire to become more involved in the festival scene and "tour with somebody cool." Well, Atlas' wish was certainly granted, and since that interview he has been featured at festies like Shambala, Lightning in a Bottle, Gem and Jam, and Envision in Costa Rica to name a few. On top of that, the magical granter of wishes also bestowed upon him a supporting role on Bassnectar’s spring 2013 tour. Ask and ye shall receive!
Take the opportunity to listen to this brand-spankin'-new album for FREE DOWNLOAD, as is most of Thriftworks' music, on Bandcamp. If Atlas' sound is a reflection of where the forefront of electronic music is heading (as is suggested by his partnership with the main face of bass), we're all in for an interesting ride.