Gravel is an attempt to capture the contradictory thoughts that trip up one's head at 3:00 A.M. Gravel is the soundtrack to sleepless nights spent ruminating on both right and wrong decisions. Gravel is the new Anticon EP from Djavan Santos, better known as D33j. Upon first spin, it's aquatic textures, faded neon haze, and blend of 808 drums and lo-fi desk claps might recall D33j's fellow Wedidit Collective family members Ryan Hemsworth and Shlohmo. But closer listening reveals a unique alchemy. Gravel was created during D33j's stint living with 30 people in a warehouse in downtown San Francisco-an "art frat" called the Matrix 1061, with almost all the inhabitants engaging in some form of creative project. Adding to the artistic ferment was the fact that only two rooms got natural sunlight. One can hear this darkness and fluorescent light in the tones of Gravel; it's only illumination is the one emanating from lit spliffs and the LED glow of the computer screen. It boasts a weird digital rawness destined to feel vintage in some far-off future. But don't pigeonhole D33j as just another bedroom producer with low Serotonin levels. The EP's gestation merely occurred during a period of great flux. Raised in Los Angeles, the 22-year old graduated from Hamilton High's Music program (Baths, Syd the Kid, Groundislava) and San Francisco Art Institute before making Gravel. He studied experimental audio and visual design and applied the theories and emotion to his record-most of it recorded over just one month. Gravel is not just only aesthetically cohesive record, but also one that bristles with the uneasy feeling of living in a compressed space. Largely a one-man project, D33j also pulled in a friend and neighbor, Kreyola, to contribute vocals whenever he'd be walking down the hallway. He'd record stream of consciousness vocals, which D33j would chop up later. The producer applied some of that technique to his own vocals, as well. This is Gravel broken to bits-an attempt to find organic light in unnatural darkness. A familiar feeling that feels somehow foreign. This is the album one want to hear as one attempts to drift off to sleep.
Slow (Feat. Kreyola)
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