Valentin Stip, I think, is part of a potentially game-changing movement. Coalescing in the world’s cosmopolitan burgs, certain young musicians are performing exhilarating experiments in cross-breeding: while offering reverence for the dark nights of today’s bleak, afflicting dance culture, they also show profound familiarity with the mystique of music from times passed (tango woven into sunken Argentine alleys, dented horns convulsing bebop on street corners of NYC, the fuzzy radio of an Alfa Romeo in Rome, 1962…). What results are musicians like Stip, who demonstrates an education as versed in pure musical chops as in style — not just distressed-leather-boots-&-buffalo-check-flannel-&-tortoise-shell-shades-style, but veritable aesthetic taste. Varied orchestration. Seamless marriage of acoustic and digital pallets. Of special note is the use of pausing and rest. These are no silly lulls employed solely to introduce The Drop. A good deal of overeager electronic musicians should look here to learn a lot (read: everything) about beats and juicy, nuanced bass. Stip & co. operate at an entirely higher level of literacy than Skrillex & herd.
There are similarities to be drawn to such historical albums as Portishead’s Dummy. But even more telling, I think, is that this year’s closest kin to Stip’s tracks is Telebossa’s superb Telebossa. It will be of little surprise that Valentin is signed to Clown and Sunset, the label run by Nicolas Jaar, who recently released Valentin’s debut Anytime Will Do EP. As with Jaar’s own versatile tracks, you can dance to Valentin’s music, or you can just plain listen to it, or, in a dark enough room, I believe you can find delectation in watching it flutter and stomp.