Never in my life have I been so excited to find a new Soundcloud account as when I stumbled upon EXPLORE. The anonymous (jk not anymore – see postscript) producer, who did not respond to a NoHype interview request, is from Belgium and is somehow associated with the Soulection crew (similarities to producers Mr. Carmack and Losco have been mentioned in comments on several of the uploads). But that’s it. That’s all we know. Yet even without a public persona behind them, the beats coming out under the EXPLORE name are absolutely iconic and single-mindedly amazing.
The sounds (he? she? ze? they?) are using are not particularly unique, drawing from a lot of the hottest trends in contemporary electronic music, from trappy boom-baps and super-charged breakbeats to trance-derived synth patterns and heavily distorted grime melodies. However, the thing that brings it all together and serves as the singular defining vision for this project is… the… DROP. In a post-EDM world where “the drop” has become a derisive joke in its ubiquity and uniformity, EXPLORE is doing something unique in doubling down on the joke, churning out beat experiments that are best described purely as drop-vessels. All of the tracks thus far released are around 1-minute long and stick to a pretty simple formula: intro, 10-second build, gravity-defying drop, vamp and done. The quick in-and-out pacing of these fragmentary pieces is both refreshing and frustrating, and I honestly can’t imagine a palatable DJ set with this breakneck speed of ups and downs. As one-off tracks, however, they really fucking work. Whether this is a true aesthetic choice or simply a convenient mode of producing beats is a question yet to be answered. EXPLORE is very clearly a next-level talent, and I for one cannot wait to see the whole vision come together. Let’s hope there is one.
POST-SCRIPT UPDATE: A few days after posting this article, EXPLORE started a gofundme in order to buy a new laptop. In doing so, he revealed himself to be Andy of the Losco brothers. There goes the concept of this post… beats are still dope tho.