You might know him as The Internet’s pianist, or you might know him as Thundercat’s younger brother, but Kintaro has carved out —and is currently cruising in— his own lane with his Universal EP. Out on Alpha Pup Records, this sixteen minute EP sprawls across a bevy of influences, spun to showcase Kintaro’s new artistic range. On each of these five tracks, he subverts expectations. See “Trap You,” where Kintaro’s lax and emotionally detached delivery over the quintessential trap production is something you’d likely expect over a Knxwledge beat. Even the transitions are jarring, going from the haze of “Alt Pln” to the initially jazz piano driven “Mk,” featuring everyone’s favorite Anderson .Paak.
Kintaro’s motto for this EP is front and center on the first cut, “Alt Pln,” where he slurs ‘I don’t give a fuck ‘bout your opinion.’ That rebellion begets a creative freedom that makes this EP a spiraling trip. The bell break on “Alien Trap” leaves you wondering if you’re in your own skin, and cutting back to the main drum loop doesn’t help reorient you. Kintaro is clearly not in the business of making you comfortable. He exchanges the piano line on “Mk” for electronic accents reminiscent of scoring power-ups and collecting coins.
What’s an EP without a soft ballad? “West” ditches the talk of sweet nothings in favor of acting on impulses and keeping things simple, casual, sensual. The melody is wispy and sheer, barely making contact with Kintaro’s voice. The star of the track is the percussion, minimalistic in form, but it’s near-boiling texture embodies the light relationship Kintaro describes. Blending textures seems to be Kintaro’s speciality across Universal, and I can only imagine what kind of kaleidoscope of styles is to come on the full-length. ‘This shit is weird as fuck, bro. Yes, it is,’ opens the final track, “Alien Trap,” and that’s the wonderful truth of this EP.
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