“Reine” from il:lo

I wasn’t planning a second post for the day. But then I heard this crafty little gem of downtempo trip-hop goodness called “Reine.” It comes from the abstractly titled French duo il:lo. I’m not sure if their name has any meaning, but I just kind of read it as an abbreviated “hello,” if enunciated with a French accent. Anyway, it’s one of those Spotify specials that snuck in, once my current playlist ran its course. And good thing, too, because it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. As of late, I’ve had a lull in the trip-hop and downtempo genres, at least when it comes to the tunes that favor organic acoustic flavors, as much as the requisite electronic grooves.

In that respect, “Reine” sounds a lot like the offspring of Bonobo and Four Tet, if Air was their surrogate parent. It’s got those delicate chiming keys and soft padded beats that beg you to sink right into and just lose yourself completely. It’s full of comfortable space, open and breezy, motivated by a seeming spin cycle of sauntering, shuffling elastic rhythm, chilled down for reclined relaxation, yet full of warmth to keep the senses peaking. But its centerpiece is this sexy melancholic trumpet solo that blankets the whole lo-fi affair, free floating and fluttering in its brass jams, a naturalistic flourish that’s as uplifting as it is somber. It’s a welcome touch that promises many return visits.

I can’t really tell you a whole lot about il:lo, themselves, other than they’re based in Paris, have been around since 2012, sport a handful of nifty EPs, and consist of Frenchmen Dejan Dejado and Andreas Schütz. Also, according to the few minimal bios I could uncover, they draw inspiration from their travels, naming their songs after the towns they visit. I’m sure there’s more to it than that. “Reine” feels like there’s a treasure trove of inspiration woven into its aural excursion. But I guess we’ll just have to leave that to our own imaginations.

Also, this one’s a collaboration with Canadian DJ/Producer Brain Blake, who also specializes in dubstep and trip-hop. Plus, he’s based in Montreal, so I’m guessing they speak a similar language, metaphorically, spiritually, or just plain practically. Other than that, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of info about him on the vastness of the web.

I’m guessing il:lo’s going to be one of those acts I’m going to have in heavy rotation in the background of my life … at least in the coming weeks ahead. They’ve got their heads in the right place, with their electronics firmly grounded, a solid rhythmic foundation rooted in the naturalistic earth-tones and textures, while their acoustic inclinations offer clear passages to soar in the spatial skies above. At least, that’s how I feel when I listen to “Reine,” as well as a sampling of some of their other material.

I’ll leave it at that. Here’s il:lo’s “Reine” to tame the tempo and add a bit of mellow to your day. I think that’s as a good a way as any to kick off the month of April. Enjoy!

“Reine” from the 2015 EP “Places.”


Brain Blake: