Mantraum Music 2022
On his way from the Bay Area to Brooklyn, electronica-obsessed soulster throws a confetti- and streamers-festooned party.
Moving from coast to coast is never an easy thing, and producer Derek Buckwalter experienced this process on multiple levels because he had not only to relocate from the West, after residing there for 27 years, to the East but also to shift his stylistic accents from the sunlit SF into the shadow of a certain NYC borough’s bridge – hence the title of the artist’s debut as a performer in his own right. It may be deliciously short, clocking in in under 17 minutes, yet the record’s seven tracks are so richly colored that the listener will get blinded by their rainbow-like brilliance and drawn towards the nearest dancefloor to shake off such a spell. Not for nothing the mini-album’s unhurried intro has a title of “Music To Make You Go Oooh”: self-toasting Resonator, or Rzn8r, guarantees as much.
With infectious synthesizer riffs aplenty and booty-shaking African beats abound, Buckwalter and his guests create a nocturnal world of neon-lit excitement that exudes soulful intimacy from every tuneful pore, so when Kaeli Earle’s seductive voice and rumbling bass lure you into “That’s On You” to witness the non-acid marriage of jazz and hip-hop there’s calmness washing over your environment, while the same Philly-scented effervescence splits into kaleidoscopic harmonies when she’s steering the balladry of “Which Way Is Up” towards the record’s finale in the magnificently hypnotic way. It’s a serious stuff, despite the presence of comedian Xander Beltran on the conversational, if groovily assertive, “What’s Good” and the soft, piano-splattered “Thought Of It” which reveal Rzn8r’s vulnerability and bolster his bare nerves with a choral cushion, whereas the mild jive of “The Window” which features Dakota’s silky vocals and the crystalline clarity of the instrumental interlude “Aphrodite In Chains” displays the entire scope of Derek’s fusion abilities.
Apparently, moving house and embracing sobriety was the best decision in this artist’s life – a choice bound to be resonating through the years now.