Friday 2 June 2017


A melancholic ride, sumptuous and nocturnal, dimly lit suburban streets, housefronts passing by as the wheels trundle on the tarmac, the determination and focus and the wandering meandering feel of freedom: this track is called 'Skateboarding' and it embodies the spirit of skateboarding—not what it means for everyone, but the spirit of skateboarding for Portuguese producer Xinobi. For him it's personal. "As a suburb kid in the late 80s, he was obsessed with the skateboarding culture, and had a strong urge to get himself a skateboard." After he got one there was an "abrupt and unexpected end to his skateboarding career" when he experienced a serious fracture in his arm. He stopped and took up guitar to rehabilitate his fingers. Xinobi, however, still had "a strong affiliation to the culture."

In the lonely emotivity of the track, its lamenting synth bloops and its plaintive chord washes wobbling into the air, in its solitary feel, there is a sense of being on the outside looking in, of imagining the technical nature and the mechanics of skateboarding, being part of skateboarding culture but not actually skateboarding. As such an intimate disconnect exists in this track, you can feel the closeness, the raw hi-hats and the vital fuzz of the bass synths and the acrobatic nuances of the beat and the organic lifeblood ambience trickling throughout, but in the sadness of some of the sounds there is distance.

Analysing this world from an outsider-inside perspective, Xinobi samples a speech at the US Library of Congress by harcore punk and post-hardcore figurehead Ian MacKaye about the philosophy of skateboarding. It summarises what the producer himself wants to say, encapsulates the power of the track itself, and the potency of the skateboard and its power to both physically and figuratively move.

  • 🔔 The aptly skateboardy video was directed by Lydie Barbara.
  • 🔔 'Skateboarding' is the opening track from Xinobi's album, On The Quiet, which was recently released on Lisbon artist collective and electronic music label Discotexas, and you can listen to it on their SoundCloud.

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