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Koushik: Be With

Koushik: Be With

Label:Stones Throw
Release Date:2005

Koushik plays the Ottobar with Four Tet

By Makkada B. Selah | Posted 9/14/2005

If you’re a longtime Koushik fan, Be With may leave you feeling a bit cheated. Four of the tracks were already released this year on a vinyl EP; the other 10 are from as far back as three years ago. And the whole affair only clocks in at around 27 minutes. Where’s the new material? (Well, a new disc, Out My Window, is due early next year.)

The 2005 stuff isn’t nearly as organic as the older stuff. 2003 hand-clapper “One in a Day,” with its strumming sitar and funk-bass breakdown, injects much-needed texture into what would otherwise be stripped-down late ’80s breakbeat. On 2002’s “Battle Rhymes for Battle Times,” Koushik’s unintelligible whisper of a croon hitches a ride on a garage-rock drummer’s marathon solo, and bam!—we smack into what has to be the tail end of a Sun Ra Arkestra composition. And we’re talking burly oboes, stern French horns, fiery timpani, and all. It’s refreshing, because much of Koushik’s production tends to suffer from acute flute-itis. For example, the title track is part of a growing problem in the Stones Throw production department: ridiculous amounts of bleeding treble and zero bass.

“Be With” climaxes at the very beginning when a Saturday night roller-rink slap bass drops. (Koushik, to his credit, does know how to dig in the crates.) Unfortunately we’re skating downhill. Be With does not cohere—hardly surprising for a singles collection being marketed as an album. But the ideas just aren’t far-out enough to justify the incoherence. It’s a trip. Not the way the trip actually goes down but the way you’d like a trip to be: pleasantly mind-altering, but nothing that totally freaks you the fuck out, makes you go crazy, or permanently rearranges the way you experience the world.

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