“Not taking anything away from a vocalist or an emcee, but without the beat they’d have nothing. They’d be a poet or an acapella artist. A lot of people think that production is important, but it is essential. I think a lot of emcees take that for granted…..I love that beat makers are standing and making success for themselves on their own, not in the background.” – Ta-ku
I’ve got to say that being exposed to 90s R&B and Hip Hop is what made me fall in love with the remix. Any time a new remix was out, I had to give it a listen. It was almost always better than the original.
As I continue my daily journey of listening and learning new music from eclectic artists of different genres, I’ve also fallen for artists who produce just ‘remixes’, if you will. Really, it’s their own rendition of a song. Maybe they use just a sample from another artist, or maybe they use the entire song. Either way, that new song becomes an original with its own flavor. I love it.
I listen to quite a few artists who just produce instrumentals (or electronic hip hop, as I refer to it) such as Flying Lotus or Chrome Sparks. Many of these producers sample great hits from Soul, Blues, Jazz and Hip Hop history. Recently, I came across Ta-ku (thank you Spotify!) and was intrigued since he incorporated pieces of Jhene Aiko’s song, “Comfort Inn”, on his album Songs to Break Up To (2013). I just had to keep listening! This 10-track album is full of smooth songs that you just want to vibe out to in the street, in the house, while you eat… Damn near all the time.
Regan Mathews aka Ta-ku hails from Perth, Australia. He started making beats around the young age of 12. Inspired by the American Soul and Hip Hop music he would hear from his Filipino and Māori family members, he too fell in love with the sound and the Hip Hop culture. In 2008, Ta-ku completed the Red Bull Music Academy and when he returned, he produced some work that expanded his fan base across a wide net. Some may attribute Ta-ku’s large following due to his creation of Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of 50 Days for Dilla (2012). He followed that tribute for J Dilla with another tribute beat tape, 25 Nights for Nujabes (2013). All of this work is magnificent. Personally, I think both of those moves were innovative and clearly had the Hip Hop audience excited about his sound to the point where he began to work strong artists, such as Cyhi Da Prynce and Raaka (Dialated Peoples). While Ta-ku can make a mean original beat, he can also produce a solid remix from an already great track. Take this list of remixes below as a perfect examples. My fav tracks on this list are: Sango – “Owe Me”; Flume – “Left Alone”; Ginger & the Ghost’s “One Type of Dark”; Ta-ku – Closet Drake Fans; and, of course :-), Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave”. But take a listen for yourself, and let me know which ones are your favorites.
Not only are Ta-ku’s beats sick, he has great collaborations with different music producers to pair their songs with visual art. Ta-ku is the founder of a website called Create and Explore. This space serves as the avenue for beat producers and photographers to “create and explore the power of creative collaboration”. I’m saying, I love good music. And if it’s paired with stunning visuals, you’ve seriously gotten my attention to the point of watching the same video numerous times AND THEN sharing it with people.
This is a great way for a the audience to go on a visual trip of different landscapes while enjoying the perfect soundtrack. Speaking of which, in December 2014, Ta-ku collaborated with CEREAL Magazine to provide essential sounds for your travels. On Flight Track Vol. 1 (2014), Ta-ku goes in a different direction, producing serene, calm and enchanting tunes to guide you where ever you go and inspire you to travel further. This collaboration has continued and CEREAL Magazine posted Flight Track Vol. 2 (2015) last April. According to CEREAL’s Journal, Ta-ku has said, “I feel both myself and Cereal are very passionate about travel and seeing the world. It fulfills the soul and I hope this playlist intensifies or at the least accompanies you on your journey.”
I’m definitely excited to hear his next project, which is entitled Songs To Make Up To (2015). He recently dropped the first single off of the album, “Love Again”, which features JMSN and Sango – two other magnificent artists! Check it out!
Ta-ku’s beats, collaborations, and personal photography are amazing. I’ve got to hand it to him, he’s making great music that I love to move to. As Ta-ku once said, “…my philosophy has always been if someone deserves props you give it to them.” Props to you, brother.
If his music has got you excited too, send him some love via twitter: @takubeats.
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