Across the six tracks that make up his new Blue Flannels EP, Minnesota native John Blanda blends jazz, hip-hop, and R&B together in an icy bath. Tipped with spectral piano interludes, massive synths, and neck-breaking beat patterns, it's a record full of rough-hewn jagged edges--a much-needed break from the modern beat scene's too-smooth status quo.
This is a project full of bangers that wastes no time getting to the point. On the opening track "Trust," a dizzy party of keyboards and trumpet set the scene for a rhodes solo. It's the first of many glimpses at BLANDA's rich talent as an instrumentalist, one honed by 16 years of piano practice and an education at Berklee College of Music. "Sinquisitive" draws from moderns greats like Flying Lotus and Mr. Carmack as it wobbles back and forth before dropping payloads of explosive trap. By the time album closer "Für Audri" fades away in a mist of sampled horns, BLANDA has touched all the modern beat scene bases and headed off into wild, uncharted territory.
At just 20 years old, BLANDA's talent is still growing, and if his latest project is anything, it's a sign of even greater things yet to come. With its aggressive drums, complex chordal structures, and bevy of original compositions, Blue Flannels packs a level of originality that can't be matched by any sample or keyboard preset. It's a much-needed break from the Soundcloud scene's monotony, made bespoke by a young craftsman producer. Put it on--it's a new, perfect fit.