Selector’s Afrofuturist series highlights the work of emerging BIPOC talent in electronic music.
Hip-hop continues to hold a wide and varied influence on many aspects of electronic music – perhaps none more so than the world of bass. This is why it’s almost no surprise to see A Hundred Drums navigate to the world of lo-fi hip-hop with the Sonder EP. Known more for her output of on the heavier side of beat culture, she seems at home with dusty, introspective beats.
“The World” seems to best combine the more widely known A Hundred Drums (real name Gabrielle Watson) aesthetic with what appear to be newfound creative musings. The track opens with bright, R&B-tinged synths before descending into a darker space. Calling to mind the sound of early Portishead, her sultry vocals swerve through thick, steamy drums. It’s almost a surprise when the two nascent pieces of the song come together in a brilliantly textured outro.
On “Death Valley,” Watson expertly wraps a languid guitar riff around a galloping rhythm. It’s still easy to see her bass roots here in the throbbing 808 bass line. And in the EP’s final chapter, “Reminisence,” she revives the thread of sexy, R&B-inspired vibes. AHD deftly showcases an aptitude for combining sticky layers of gooey guitars in the most organic song of the package.
The San Francisco-born, Denver-based multi-instrumentalist’s talent can be heard throughout her work. She learned how to play the clarinet, saxophone, flute, the drums as a child and combines her varied influences – from jazz to psytrance to deep bass – with these more organic sounds to set her apart from her contemporaries. As a result, she’s become a fan favorite with appearances at festivals with releases on labels like Gravitas and Wakaan.
You can grab a copy of the Sonder EP on the A Hundred Drums Bandcamp page.