Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 6, 2023

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been constantly listening to music from two completely unique and distinct producers. 

Both are fantastic and should be far more popular than they are, though they make completely different music. 

The more accessible and better-known artist is Jarreau Vandal, a Dutch DJ and producer. 

Vandal is one of the best party DJ’s in recent years. He curates these fantastic mixes that feel like they could go on for hours. They are chock full of fun beats, crazy remixes and just overall bangers. I recommend watching videos of Vandal’s sets — it is the best way to see the kind of energy he can create. 

Vandal will build hype in the crowd with complete ease, playing danceable, booming music. Every once in a while, when a truly slapping track comes on, he’ll hop on the DJ table with a trademark cigarette in hand.

According to Vandal, his remixes started after his DJ-ing. He got into it by slightly changing songs to fit his mixes better. After making his first few changes, he got more confident changing the songs and transitioned into making complete reimaginings of the original tracks.

My favorite Vandal flip is his remix of British rapper J Hus’ “Did You See.” He ripped the lyrics, took the main melody and turned the already Jamaican-tinged song into a tropical, addictive track. 

The sounds are bright and cheery; the drums are bouncy and catchy. It’s hard not to jump around when the risers drop. 

A more recent and more popular Vandal production is the track he made from the viral choral snippets of Kanye’s Sunday Service. Vandal chopped the vocals, layered real instruments and new vocals over the sounds and transformed a few sound bites into a full, evolving track. 

He enlisted Denzel Curry, the Florida MC, to lay a great verse. All the elements together make an absolutely fantastic rap song with beautiful backing.

Vandal’s music is perfect for this wave of nice weather. The smooth chords, tinkling melodies and bouncy basses complement sun and heat immaculately. Vandal has found a way to bottle joy and energy into these short remixes and beats. 

The other artist I’ve been constantly bumping is a far less well known producer who makes this strange, rattling beat music. 

Edac is a rare artist. Since hip hop and lo-fi beatmaking exploded into the forefront of mainstream music, dozens of producers who make dull, generic beats have flooded the market. It has become almost impossible to pick out great, imaginative producers from the sea of boring, but technically sound, producers. 

Somehow by chance, I stumbled onto Edac’s SoundCloud and was blown away.

It is almost impossible to describe Edac’s trademark sound. His music is simultaneously lo-fi, glitchy, bass heavy, dark and melodic. It fails to fall into any category completely. 

Edac’s most incredible talent is his work with the drums. He’s like an even drunker Monte Booker, layering dozens of sounds atop each other to weave together off-kilter, rattling beats. 

He’ll layer an off-beat jingling pattern over an off-beat booming, bass-heavy kick. If you try to follow each drum sound separately, you’ll think they’re from two separate tracks. 

Yet, somehow in combination, they form a drum pattern that makes complete sense, and that sounds intensely groovy.

You would think that in order to make the weird drums work, Edac would have to be more standard with his samples and instruments. He is not. He finds rare samples and sounds, then filters them until they are warm and sweet, giving them a lo-fi cassette sound. 

Then he continues to mess with the harmonics, glitching and twisting the sound until it’s unrecognizable. Somehow the warmth and the glitch work together to create this pulsating, unpredictable sound-scape. In a lot of his music the harmonies arise almost like accidents. 

Electronic music can often be very cold, artificial and generic, but Edac avoids all of these pitfalls by mixing all of these incohesive elements into something that is wildly organic.

The track that got me into Edac’s music was “Daddy,” the intro of his 2019 project, Bond. 

The first few seconds are absolutely ridiculous. Immediately the song is this wash of warm bass sounds, glitchy upper-end frequencies and a strange, pounding drum pattern. The sound was so alien and random but simultaneously so warm and organic. 

My brain couldn’t comprehend what I was listening to, but I couldn’t stop. I was soon listening to all of his SoundCloud releases.

I highly recommend everyone checks out these two artists. They both make such exciting, fun work that overlooking them is criminal. 

Throw on a Jarreau Vandal mix while doing your work out in the sun. Toss on Edac’s SoundCloud on your way to work. You’ll finally have the opportunity to hear the great stuff you’ve been missing.

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