Ashbeck & El Londo – Ashlondo 2

Words by Daniel Farrell

As winter stirs in, Ashbeck & El Londo have gifted us an early present, Ashlondo 2 – If you haven’t heard this effective duo before, you’re in for a real treat with this one. Since releasing Ashlondo in 2019, the North-West London pairing opted for a flutter in the solo realm. Ashbeck released Starmix which, for many, may have slipped under the radar. It’s a solid body of work featuring Brum’s Ninioh and SE London’s soundcloud stalwart, Kish!. El Londo released his highly acclaimed Fool EP back in 2019, another solid offering. We’d recommend pointing your ears in the direction of these two pieces first if you’re unfamiliar. Alas, we’re here to dismember their latest collaborative working, Ashlondo2, so that’s exactly what we’ll do. I’m going to highlight some of our favourite tracks on the album, in an attempt to get you interested in their swashbuckling escapades in what’s been a topsy-turvy 2020. 

Ashlondo 2 consists of 11 tracks totalling 31 minutes, frankly, it’s a stellar effort and perhaps an improvement on the original 2019 piece. We’ll let you decide that. One thing that’s certain though, is the continuation of sound. At its core, it’s professional, well planned and original. The effort is obvious and no expense, especially in terms of time and passion, has been spared. It’s well-grounded, and a fitting 2nd installation of a fast-growing underground combo. Production is dominated by El Londo, as we’d expect, though co-production by Ashbeck and Billzonthebeat also features. Anyway, let’s get into it shall we?

Track 2 – Acg

Acg, post intro, is what we’ve come to expect from Ashbeck & El Londo at a bear minimum. I mean this with no disrespect. They’ve set their bar very high and from very early, meaning the listeners head into any new project or new singles with high expectations. They don’t disappoint. Produced by El Londo, with the assistance of Ashbeck, Acg harbours melancholic undertones with a deeper, contrasting bassline, supported with a series of light snare patterns. Ashbeck’s flow is that of the typical NW London style, with subtle inflections and slight tonal changes. He paces himself neatly atop the beat, with the focus more on clarity and less on aggression, allowing for an easy-to-understand track. It sets the tone for the rest of the album nicely.

(Left) Ashbeck & El Londo (Right) – Photo by @jude.swan

Track 3 – Never Doubt ft. Sainte

In contrast to the previous track, Never Doubt offers a much pacier, much more gripping sound. Production wise, we’re given an almost garage-esque bassline, with those ever reliable snares and pops we’ve grown accustomed to, hovering in transit from bar to bar. Lyrically, both artists follow a similar trend. It seems to tell a story of local stardom, and the notion of not doubting their musical processes. Sainte is delicate and flows at pace with little time to catch breath, Ashbeck is similarly driven. The hook is a neat move, which lies either side of Sainte’s feature, on a song which could perhaps have benefitted without one, given the pace; But it proves the pacing and definitely fits the overall vibe of the track. With Sainte being the only lyrical feature, a lot of responsibility was granted. He took it full throttle and dealt with the beat with a concise and sensible approach. Top drawer. 

Track 4 – Moon ft Billzonthebeat

Not that it would’ve been rude to not shine a little attention on Billzonthebeat’s co-production on Moon, after we’ve commended the only other feature on the album, we’ve chosen this track because of its potent quality in all areas. Billzonthebeat clearly has a good understanding with El Londo and Ashbeck, with a tightly co-produced, airy and softer vision for the album’s fourth track. Moon is a fitting title for a star-gazing, introspective and more world-viewing lyrical approach. Lyrically, Ash supposes a number of scenarios, such as the wonderment of his thirties, whether he’ll have a baby and ultimately whether he’ll make it to where he desires, the moon, a lovely metaphor for his assumed success and triumphs to come. The production supports this star-gazing motif, with a series of lucid sparkles and shimmers throughout. The bass is consistent, which allows Ash to deliver with consistency. It’s a personal favourite, and one I’d implore anyone to take time with. Light a candle, sit by the window on a darkening, rainy winter evening and look up. You might just find your inspiration.                                                                                                                                                                 

Track 5 – Booli

We didn’t want this to happen. When we approach anything for review, we usually pick three or four tracks, usually spread across the album depending on it’s length, and we try to apply meaning or complement their qualities. As mentioned at the top of this piece, we’re trying to stick to this, but given the album’s quality and track diversity, we’ve taken a chronological approach so far. Track’s 2/3/4 and now 5, have all been discussed. For the sake of time, we’re going to skip a few after track 5 (though you shouldn’t), and head to the back leg of the piece, that is, of course, right after we dabble in Booli.

Booli, which was released as a single a number of weeks prior to the albums full release, is an obvious ode to Cooli, which is by-far one of Ashbeck’s and El Londo’s most popular tracks. Cooli released as track 7 on their first installation of the steady-growing Ashlondo series, it earned its rights as an underground go-to, with an effortlessly flowing sound and understated production. Anyway, that was then, this is now. Booli, like Cooli, is a simplified, straightforward, easy listen. El Londo opts to use higher pitched almost glockenspiel-type samples throughout which adds an element of futurism. 

“I had a passion, I had a dream, so I just ran with it, I’m feeling silly, give me a riz, I might put a gram in it – I ain’t in the mood don’t call me, kick back and I’m Booli, man I come a long way since Cooli”.

Ash discusses where the pair have been in the last year, namely in “stu” or studio, working to make Ashlondo 2 a reality. It’s another piece of the puzzle complete, and we can only imagine when they got Booli down and finished, they exchanged a little look of assurance and a cheeky firms. There’s not much else we can say about this track, it’s an instant classic that doesn’t rely too heavily on its successful predecessor Cooli. It’s typical Ashlondo. 

Track 9 – Bakerloo Trips

Bakerloo Trip’s, produced by El Londo, also features a few rare bars by El Londo, and he’s smooooth with it ya know. He jumps on around halfway through for a jagged-edged feature, which roles slightly over a 16. He maybe doesn’t have the smoother transitions down, but the content is there – The bars are there. The song seems to tell a story of not quite making enough bread from music just yet, hence doing “Bakerloo Trips” in the day, and studio sessions at night. It’s an honourable plight they’re on, and given their workrate in the last year or two, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them eating very nicely off music in the years to come.

“But right now I’m doing it basic face it you don’t wanna see me make it – And we just wait on the payslip trace it, hook up the beat man ace it” – El Londo

We’ve picked this track for a number of reasons; Obviously hearing the long-time producer wade in with a few bars is always interesting, but more than that, it shows the solidarity and drive they both possess. Imagine doing a group project at school, where the subject matter was something you really cared about passionately, where everyone was actually arsed about it – Well it’s like that. These two are acing everything they’re trying at the minute, all the effort and time they’re putting in together is sure to reap rewards soon. 

Track 11 – Thinkin’/Tell Me

The album comes to a close with a dual-titled, single-sound track, Thinkin’/Tell Me. Again, the production is subtle, low-key and not overbearing. It allows Ash to dispel his thoughts in an orderly fashion and seek a more melodic tone. The spaced out bass and more consistent hi hats support this notion and thus his delivery. It plays host to more introspective lyricism, seeming to tackle Ash’s scatterbrain approach to writing. For these two it’s all about the music, and the process of making music. There’s no quasi-art for these guys, it’s what they do and it’s what they’ll continue to do until they breach. It’s a professional close to a professional piece, and again confirms what many already know. We hope there’s a third installation, and a fourth and fifth, because they’re seemingly on a real skyward motion. 

Keep your eyes peeled early 2021, when we drop our first print issue. We’ve fired a few questions Ashbeck & El Londo, in a bid to offer you guys a better understanding of their approach to both music and artistry as a whole. You won’t want to miss it!