It’s been a startling couple of years for instrumental beats of all persuasions: the likes of LA’s Brainfeeder crew and Glasgow’s LuckyMe collective have developed styles with a scope far beyond creating merely ‘instrumental hip hop’. Amongst all the hype and promotion, one of the music’s reclusive architects seems to have been mysteriously overlooked.
However, ask the likes of Hudson Mohawke or Flying Lotus and they’ll tell you the same thing: Dimlite’s production was astounding from the start. His EPs of 2003 and debut album Runbox Weathers two years later revealed a Swiss producer beholden to no one, possessing a style as nuanced as his friend Prefuse 73 and yet enriched by a careworn romanticism and quirkiness that rewarded repeat listens and has, over time, made him something of a ‘producer’s producer’.
Another album, singles, remixes and side-projects followed, taking Dimlite’s sound further left, further into a singular world where soul music, latin rhythms, hiphop and more are reconstituted into dreamy, lovelorn beat constructions. And so he took his place at Now-Again, home to a cadre of similarly singular spirits such as The Heliocentrics and The Whitefield Brothers, each bent on refracting music history through their own unique lenses.
And while copycat producers abound, Dimlite’s uniqueness is only throw into sharper relief. Now Again Records presented Grimm Reality,his third album, in which Dimlite incorporated the techniques and artistic attitude of two of his alter-egos (Misel Quitno, a fanatic in low-fidelity electro-acoustic composition; the Slapped Eyeballers, a two-headed, world-rock-folk combo) to color a progressive sonic vision. Dimlite’s precedents that spring to mind are all cherished outsiders – Neu, The Residents, Beefheart, Philip Glass – footnotes in mainstream music history but, in an altogether preferable parallel universe, titans of the recent past.
But Dimlite doesn’t create the patchwork of a tasteful record collector though – he eschews samples entirely, imbuing his music with the spirit of his heroes but never once grabbing for their sound. In so doing, he creates music that is highly singular and – despite its relatively ancient influences – altogether new.