Tuesday 21 July 2020



Skittering and beset with structured staccato slices of unidentifiable sampling, 'Pkmn Snap' by Aida Skee feels like a cool breeze. What relevance it bears to 1999 N64 title PokΓ©mon Snap isn't immediately obvious, and perhaps there isn't one, but in its simplicity — its lines of airy sampling, sparing and delicate bassline, background ambience — there is something at least in spirit to the game's soundtrack, notably its 'The Young Photographer' theme.

Cheerful without being sunny, sparse without feeling overly lonely, 'Pkmn Snap' similarly conjures an imaginary landscape. Not unsurprising, as the musicmaker themselves revealed to yes/no that Mach Leisure, the beat tape which the track is taken, is inspired at least partly "hiking while listening to Knxwledge, Marvin Gaye, and deep cut '70s R&B." Physical landscapes, and how music enhances or reflects them, play their part.

This musical foundation is noticeable on the rest of the beat tape, which sometimes gloops with vaporwave ooze ('can't see shit'), glitters like the vapor-friendly tracts of nostalgia in title track 'MACH LEISURE', or radiates warmth as in the comforting groove of album closer 'Where to start it'.

Attention to detail comes to the foreground in tracks like 'right' — its beat clicks into something high octane, before samples drop in slowly skewed and bubbling. It's places like this where Aida Skee's process reveals itself, Mach Leisure being a collection of experiments in high BPM tracks that still retain a "relaxing element of R&B sample-based music."

This sense of relaxation is an element throughout that was (probably) sought after and welcomed by the musicmaker themselves. "I made this whole tape while living alone in Montreal, smoking too much legal weed," they say. "The theme is meant to be like attempting to attain relaxation as fast as possible and how that's sort of an oxymoron."

Tricks in tempo aren't the only cocktail that binds Mach Leisure: "The tracks integrate pitched up and pitched down components of the same sampled tracks, use heavily warped or distorted sample components in tandem with non-distorted loops," the producer explains.

That sense of speed, as well as glistening pairings of pitched and non-pitched samples, occurs in 'like relaxing in a car that's going fast' — a title that sums up the whole idea behind the album — and following track, 'Keep me talking', whose sampled flashes and snaps crackle with chaos. In them, the situation of creating the album — not just hiking in the mountains and listening to music, but also weed and panic and paranoia — come into play. It's both a result of, and a cure for, those negative emotions that inspire minds to race and disappear into realms we wished they wouldn't.

Aida Skee Internet Presence ☟

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