4 / 5
US East-Coast beat-smith Elements of Music (aka EOM, aka Daniel Yerac) is rather low-key in the grand scheme of things. Hailing from Virginia, he’s first and foremost an independent producer who spends more time working with and supplying tracks to artists as opposed to releasing them individually, and tends to remain somewhat behind the scenes. However, after releasing ForAllWeKnow in 2013, he’s taken another step-back from his beat philanthropy to release his kickstarter-funded second album Sunrain.
EOM’s music is frequently instrumental, seeing that he creates sturdy foundations on which other artists can build upon, but Sunrain allows him to spend one-on-one time with the microphone, along with a hefty handful of collaborating artists. Similarly to himself, the featuring names are talented individuals who remain under the billboard chart radar, but have proved that not being thrust into the mainstream shark-tank can build a loyal fan base, and success nonetheless. Among the artists listed next to EOM are familiar names such as Watsky, Wax, Anderson Paak, Slik D and Asher Roth, as well as many others who really provide character to the smooth beats provided by Elements of Music himself.
A word to summarise the album is ‘fluid’ – each track seamlessly runs on from the next, which makes for effortless listening. A delightful stream of continuity that sees the beat in the first and last track match, creating a loop of nostalgia-inducing hip-hop that really deserves to hold its own in the genre. Some recent albums, most notably Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, feature an underlying commentary on the current state of racial affairs in the US. Sunrain’s second half has a similar theme, and continues the trend to help give a voice to the voiceless, along with a fresh generation of African-American rap and hip-hop artists.
A self-confessed tag-line ‘EOM makes mad beats’ is something he promotes himself, and it could quite easily be argued that it’s accurate. The style varies between tracks, but ultimately Sunrain offers a stylistic blend of traditional hip-hop drum beats with some more experimental synthesized sounds laid over the top. The album isn’t afraid to explore, and certainly gives a vastly popular genre something new to listen out for. Sunrain feels like a project – you can tell the artist really strived to produce this album, most blatantly by the wide range of guest artists he brought in to co-create. The range of different styles and voices provides the collection of tracks with originality, but each song is still glossed with the slick standard of EOM’s musical production.