Record Label: Warp
With R Plus Seven, Daniel Lopatin made his first appearance on Warp, and he could not have made a stronger statement. Having carved out a stream of releases grounded on his cherished Juno-60 synth in the last few years, collected in the Rifts compilation and brought into noisier territory on his debut proper, Returnal on Editions Mego, R Plus Seven continued with the wider sample-based palette explored in 2011’s Replica, released on Lopatin’s own Software imprint.
The album in many ways feels like Lopatin’s most mature. The angelic synth choirs, arpeggiated Juno patterns and noisy fuzz which produced such psychedelic sensations on previous releases are here treated with a cleaner, bolder touch. On the album’s pillars ‘Zebra’ and ‘Problem Areas’ synthetic layers which might previously have been blended into a poignant smush are given space, coagulating into sharp rhythms before wormholing into languid drones. Elsewhere, sustained organs lull the listener into a trance abruptly broken by candy laser synths on ‘Boring Angel’, and ‘Chrome County’ further riffs upon the tropes of classic American minimalism with piano motifs that recall Steve Reich.
The sheer breadth of the record - both musical and emotional - is astounding, with a bewildering array of influences brought together against all odds by the hand of one of electronic music’s most relentlessly inventive voices. Read R Plus Seven’s cover as its make-up: all of Lopatin’s doors and detours are still intact but they’ve been refined into something all the more magical.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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