Posted by: Dominic Umile | 03/03/2009

New (Free) Stuff: Diego Bernal

Diego Bernal’s spirited, sample-based beats make for great home listening — they’ll go over nicely with your vintage lamp and after-dinner drinks. Best of all, an album’s worth of them are free.

I wrote a brief post about this over at PopMatters’ Media Center blog last week, and I thought I’d be doing the few Whisper Council readers a disservice if I didn’t mention it here (incidentally, if you’re not visiting PM’s Media Center regularly, you should be).

Diego Bernal is a San Antonio, Texas producer who pays tribute to J Dilla’s soul 45s patchwork wonder Donuts on For Corners — not only by name on the first track of his debut full-length available now for free download, but throughout, with nods in the looped sultry vibes of “On4,” or in its airy, late 60s romp “The Pause Tape Trainer” (clipped flutes and all). The abruptly edited, spaced-out soundscapes that pepper the album, such as “Fat Sal” or “Armor All’d Out,” are less straightforward, and are reminiscent of label mate Aether’s work, about which I’ll say more in a subsequent post.

I’ll only complain that these entries are too short — a common gripe I have with anything that clearly took a great deal of patience to sew together. Once I find myself settling into the groove of one of these backward-looking nuggets, it’s close to its end. In any event, advocates of Dr. Who Dat?, DJ Premier, or Dilla should definitely scoop this up — it’s too weird to be branded with the easy “instrumental hip hop” moniker and shelved alongside run-of-the-mill downtempo. Bernal rummages through a multitude of genres when he’s designing these beats, and his trips are smoky and satisfying. Grab this while it’s available.

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