Itʻs been two and a half years since producer Aaron Koslow released his definitive Fusion Swing, “a meditative…deep dive” into the intersections between hip-hop, electronic, fusion, soul, and jazz. That decade-old amalgam remains the catalyst fueling progressive electronic music coming out of Los Angeles.
Look at the work of Flying Lotus, the late Ras G, TOKiMONSTA, Kamasi Washington, Nite Jewel, Thundercat, Josef Leimberg and Daedelus. That well of creativity remains a group think, sectioned off in various strains, these producers and musicians pull from.
Koslow, who records by the name Elusive, has delivered many beat tapes and EPʻs since, that fashion percussive outlines, moody diagrams with odd time signatures. Providing theories, about where modal and digitized sounds work together best.
Afterthoughts, his 23 track fleshed out watercolor, confirms that a movement is only as strong as the interlocking parts propelling it forward. With 18 features, including Stones Throw Records’ Kiefer and West Coast Get Down alumni Ryan Porter, plus a seriously deep bench of LA session musicians who represent this creative fluidity, it may seem like the sequel or bookend to Fusion Swing.
But Elusive’s grasp of the bigger moment, a capacity to write charts that hold the various colors, voices, changes in place while moving forward, expands on his already storied producer jacket of 20 plus years. Afterthoughts, recorded over the last two years, features six vocalists, all of which are women. Their textures are different but Nite Jewel, Jimetta Rose, Natasha Agrama, Mali Hayes, Nikeita Crichlow, and Olivia Hale bring color, generate space and provide a layer of harmonizing overtones that make these compositions settled.
Koslow remains a futurist, by understanding what has preceded him. So when we hear the twitchy, tricky grooves on “Divine”, pointing to the broken beat days perfected by dego, complete with screeching fusion guitar work by Deen Anbar. Or those thunderously sampled Elvin Jones drums on “Sun Shadow”. Even the trademark surface noise of crackling vinyl strewn about his productions-these stand as a reminder to who he is and where he comes from.
No matter how far we get jettisoned in this new sonic template. Listen to his single “Self Love” featuring Mali Hayes, Ian Roller and Matt Little below via Bandcamp and don’t forget to support! Released via World Galaxy / Alpha Pup Records.