DEVILS CARETAKER - Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2 (Instrumentals)

DEVILS CARETAKER - Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2
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DevilsCaretaker "Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2" Instrumental Mixtape

Review: Often overlooked, the role of the hip hop producer has grown to the point his respective beat tapes get just as much play as the top-ranking songs he produces. Examples include beat makers the likes of Swiff D, Clams Casino, Cardo and Sledgren—all have released instrumental projects to much fanfare and the Lexington Park, Maryland beatsmith Jerome Davis, professionally known as DevilsCaretaker, is aiming to take his rightful place alongside those aforementioned names with the inclusion of his newest effort Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2, the follow-up to 2012’s first installment on Beatwurxxxz Productionz.

When describing DevilsCaretaker’s sound, the first thought is inarguably ‘cinematic’; his blending of styles is reminiscent of that found in the Madden NFL game franchise from collaborators Sam Spence and Da Riffs; beautifully menacing and hauntingly approachable at the same time, making Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2 an even more interesting concept to behold. If there is any flaw that hip hop has it is the lack of true musicianship; the range being sampled soul or simplistic piano and synth fingering makes this project stand out even further as shown on tracks such as “Push” where the complex chord progressions add a deeper element to the brass and synth work crafting a dark and mysterious backdrop. When the arpeggiated synth drops it completes the mood perfectly. Another great example of how DevilsCaretaker’s musicality sets his sound apart is “King’s Court”. That he uses a combination of choir and chip tune synths against a super-fast triplet hi-hat rhythm shows an understanding of how to pull various features from genres that ordinarily would never mix and make them his own.

A good portion of Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2 is centered on a decidedly southern trap sound, and the instances where the vibe deviates keep things from getting redundant. “The Don” was good for this, with drumming that feels right at home on the East Coast circa 1995 and with the fat synths lying between the reverbed snares, it’s not difficult to get a head nod.

“Waiting” is a particularly good beat, prefaced by alternating synth stabs and a phased rhythm lead that powers through the track until the middle of the verse section where another set of synths meet them and they crescendo to an all-out pulsating medley of sounds that would feel right at home as theme to an epic blockbuster movie battle. On a less histrionic level it can be said that the track sets a tone, builds upon it masterfully and leaves you breathless at its conclusion. After taking the time to ingest everything that is Bars, Beats & Ticks Vol. 2 I feel as though I understand why this producer has worked as much as he has: he knows how to not only make a quality musical composition but given his engineering knowledge he is able to put all of these pieces together in a clean, crisp package that rivals most of, if not all, of what you’ll find on the airwaves today. He truly understands how to capture emotion melodically. - Review by: Charles Sweet

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