You should know Dunc by now: He created one of the best beats on one of the city’s best ever rap albums. In 2011, as one half of hip-hop duo DTMD, Dunc’s reminiscent soundtrack offered an emotive canvas for Toine‘s self-assessing rhymes. Most recently, Dunc produced two quality EPs—Organic, with rapper Sean Born, and 3 & Out with DTMD.
So the producer’s keeping busy, even if he stays behind the scenes. Executive produced by musicians Drew Kid and Charles Walsh, Dunc’s new instrumental album, Cycles, is far removed from his usual motif of 1960s soul looped into old-school hip-hop. Here, the mood is ambient and downcast, wielding a thoughtful set of fluid electro-soul.
While his previous instrumental album—2010’s The Leftovers—is made of dusty drum breaks, Cycles is thoroughly melodic; the Cheverly composer uses live instruments to flirt with funk grooves and rustic themes. On the brassy title track, for instance, the beat twirls around a slight organ and horn solos. “Crystal Caverns,” with its rolling keys and hypnotic drum kick, is closest to Dunc’s DTMD aesthetic.
But it’s on “Through the Storm” that the album truly thrives. Rapid drum fills quicken the pace; sporadic horn stabs give it an oceanic resonance. That makes Cycles a great record for rainy days and late nights. It’s a recording you play on moderate volume while driving through the city, a soothing safe-for-work compilation that sounds wonderful in your headphones. With Cycles, Dunc shows he’s not only a good producer, but a nuanced architect as well.
Stream Cycles after the jump.