What does it mean to be timeless in age of shallow immediacy? In a world where instant virality is hailed as the supreme goal, the most radical act of subversion might be creating something built to bang in a soundsystem eternity. The latest from Sweatson Klank (FKA Take) achieves that rare posterity, inviting an all-night party of boogie funk, ‘80s modern soul, Japanese city pop, Balearic disco, AOR, and 90’s house.

Don’t mistake this for derivative mash-up or second-rate synthesis. Released on Friends of Friends, A Free Mind is a masterpiece from by a producer and multi-instrumentalist (keys, drum machine, live bass, guitar, percussion) who discovered a secret chamber where digital funk, contemporary soul, the Belleville Three and Mr. Fingers can all convene on the dancefloor. The L.A. linchpin has alchemized original grooves made to hear on loop at an elegant Tokyo vinyl den, booming from your car speakers on a moon-lit freeway run, or at a bacchanalian house party. It works as both pure aesthetics and function–all gorgeous chord progressions and graceful locomotion – yet it’s sophisticated and complex, informed by the history of the last four decades of music. This is a work aimed at discerning listeners alienated by the fast food music culture and empty hype that has become endemic.

Perhaps this should come as no surprise from the producer born Tom Wilson. The co-founder of the legendary L.A. proto-Beat Scene party, Sketchbook, first built his reputation as one of the most vaunted names to emerge from that hemisphere of 808s and bone-splintering bass. His songs have been featured in major sync placements in all mediums and regularly rinsed by the world’s best DJs from Mary Anne Hobbs to Tom Ravenscroft to Novena Carmel of KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” But in recent years, he’s elevated his style and expanded his palette, creating everything from ambient to new age to house and disco.

When Klank began A Free Mind over two years ago, he found himself considering what music was constantly replayed in his daily life. It wasn’t what was hot or what was trendy, but rather what captured a fleeting moment or emotion and rendered it timeless through song.

After years of being regarded as a producer’s producer, Klank set out to make something mature but fun, nostalgic without being over-sentimental, deeply committed to the craft but never self-serious. These effortless-sounding anthems could only come from someone with a lifetime of vinyl crate-digging, studying, and digesting music from past, present, and beyond. Joined by Steve Spacek, Illingsworth, Girls of the Internet and more, Klank divined a work that leaps across time and space, yet feels distinctly like a singular vision.

The Limit” glides on a gossamer road to the empyrean gates. Over glowing rainbow synthesizers and Paisley Park drums, guest vocalist Aya Trenier delivers something blindly bright and soothingly meditative. Picture DãM-Funk producing an FM radio staple for Patrice Rushen in 1983 and you begin to get the idea. “Circa 95” sounds like something you’d expect to hear Frankie Knuckles spinning at a Westside Chicago park jam during that fabled summer. “Can I Go” finds the northwest passage between acid house and drum n’ bass that people have been searching for since the classic UK raves of time immemorial. The Steve Spacek-buoyed “Stop Talking” ether sounds like Kashif over phosphorescent glo-fi beats or The Isley Brothers floating over James Blake.

A Free Mind is both futuristic and reverent to the past, nostalgic without being derivative, uplifting without being corny. Sweatson Klank has created an end-to-end burner with no expiration date – a testament to the freedom that comes when you refuse to be tethered to one style and set out to conjure visceral and transportive spells whose efficacy will never fade.

A Free Mind album artwork

A FREE MIND tracklist
1. Move Freely feat. Tina Hughes
2. The Limit feat. AYA
3. Sweat’s Bounce
4. No Other feat. Tiffany Paige
5. Summer Sand
6. Driftwood feat. Illingsworth
7. Stop Talking feat. Steve Spacek
8. Stuck Inside Your Love feat. Aummaah
9. Circa 95
10. Can I Go
11. Not Alone feat. Girls of the Internet


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *