darkforces(Photo By Band Camp)

Dark Forces (preview/purchase)

Our affiliates over at Producers United gave us the opportunity to check out a couple of different projects from their in house producer J1K. First up is Dark Forces.  This tape is the follow up to his light hearted release Cruisin and has a much deeper tone and feeling to it. Lets dissect a few of the best tracks on this tape.

“Warning Signs”

The first track that really grabbed me was this one, especially with the intro. That dingey piano sample and the soft hi hats led into a nice drop. I love the way the beat again drops out a bit at the end of every eight bars and the cymbals have a quick solo swing. There is a nice “Cowboy vs Aliens”-esque whining synth that layers the background in the last eight bars of the verses. The drum kit used in this one is nothing unique and neither is the bass-line. The beauty of it all is that the simplicity meshes to create a nice joint here.

“Spanish Guitar”

As the name suggests, there is a crazy nice Spanish guitar sample used as the foundation for this song. The bass guitar flirts so nice with the other guitar its ridiculous. The drum loop is nice, though I wanted a little bit more on the snare/percussion end. The space traveling synth on the chorus takes the beat from good to great and just makes everything come together. I wanted to hear so much more of this beat, as we get a quick intro, a verse, a chorus and eight bars of another verse to close out. This is definitely one of the shorter pieces on the beat tape, but damn it is sweet.

“See The Light”

This one is most definitely a head nod inducer (no better way to say it). First the strings create a deep background for the track and work well with the loungey piano keys laced throughout the song. The kicks in this one are heavy and deep, which fits perfectly for the lighter tones in the sound. My two favorite elements of the song have to be: the constant stop/pause on the string sample & extra synth in the background and the snare/clap. If you know me and my tastes you know I fall in love with a beat easy when it has the perfect clap or snare and this has it.

**Final Thoughts: Overall this is a great beat tape, with some nice production. I loved the length of the entire project and it really speaks to the talent of J1K. While there are some tracks the sound a bit too similar here, there are a few that really stand out and those can not be denied. – Real McCoy