Philip Grass tend to make the type of music that its name portends: forward-thinking composed beats for the stoner set. “All I Need,” released today on Dropping Gems as part of the Find EP, would certainly sound good over bong rips, but it marks a new, even chiller direction for the local beatmaking duo.
With an appearance on local net label Blankstairs’ first compilation last year—not to mention the Dropping Gems association—Philip Grass secured its place on World Wide Web servers. The group’s music was very much in line with the zeitgeist: abstracted kicks, pitch-shifted decomposed samples and catchy melodies invoking dancey hooks circa New Jack Swing and earlier.
“All I Need” doesn’t fill out the coaxial cables of the world as previous tracks did. Instead, it’s more suited to a cozy jazz club, with a piano up against the coffee bar, a delicate flautist opposite and a percussionist doing double-duty on a simple kit and a marimba in the back corner. Samples still echo through the track but always at their natural pitches. Philip Grass have exchanged QWERTY keyboards for a more polished set of ivories, and the result is fresh and refined.
When a consistent kick comes in halfway through, the shuffling beat really grooves. It’s as if the whole of “All I Need” was the lead track to Café del Mar: Edición Río Willamette. That’s certainly not a bad thing. If there’s one thing Portland needs, it’s a little more Ibizan sun.