It was almost exactly a year ago to the day that GKEN-E found me. It was a rough time – approaching the end of my senior year of college without any concrete plans – and I was thoroughly stressed; I spent a good amount of my free time listening to trip-hop, especially Bonobo. As I mentioned a long time ago, no other type of music styling can ever make me feel as free as the dreamy beats and sounds of trip-hop can.
So, I was both pleasantly surprised and shocked when, after posting a tweet about Bonobo, a random new musician began following me on both Twitter and Instagram. Usually I don’t pay much attention to amateur musicians, as they generally are only interested in getting ‘follow-backs’ and building their own base. GKEN-E seemed different; first of all, he was offering giving away all his music for free at his Bandcamp website. As of now, his music is still available for anywhere between free and five dollars – definitely a great value!
Often times, trip-hop can seem almost melancholically beautiful. Being stitched together from different samples, or created electronic sounds, along a single rhythm, trip-hop seems almost to embrace and circle around the notion of quietness – even though it is generally composed of multiple layers on top of each other. I suppose the general down-tempo nature of trip-hop could explain this reaction to the music.
GKEN-E’s version of the genre is different. While working within the loop and beat framework of trip-hop, GKEN-E added something that was generally absent – the notion of ‘positive beats.’ All throughout his works are the ideas of positivity and energetic beats, lending an uptempo sound to a genre that was generally more about chillness; although, to say that GKEN-E isn’t chill would be a disservice. His music, like all trip-hop, is still fantastic to put on and daydream to.
GKEN-E’s music does not fail to engage the listener. Like all great composers within this genre, he makes his music accessible yet interesting – the sounds continue to change, as he further orchestrates and has the sound build upon upon itself. The music never becomes too heavy or bogged down, however, and allows your mind to wander freely – as if floating peacefully through clouds of positive beats.
Friday Refrain is coming a little late this week. I just got home from my weekend trip to Şanlıurfa, and boy do I have some stories to tell! So, prepare yourself for super entertaining posts for the next week, before it all goes back downhill.
After class on Thursday, one of my students showed me this song and I thought it was amazing – not only do I love trip-hop style music, but it also perfectly captures how exhausted I am after the long road to Urfa and back.