Slacs Bianci – Useless Boredom

Words by Daniel Farrell

To date, Slacs Bianci has self-produced all 4 of his previous albums – Undeterred by perhaps not receiving the level up we, and possibly even he believes he deserves, he’s done it again. The latest installation “Useless Boredom” offers 12 tracks, all produced by Slacs’, featuring a series of long-time and first-time collaborations, including: Rebecca Sophie, Garton, scarssurvived, Bartz and Blackhaine. The diversity of features dictates a diversity of sound throughout the album, something we’ve come to enjoy from Sliccy. One thing Slacs’ has always managed to create with each album is a consistency of sound. His production is distinctive, with subtle repetition of drum patterns and samples; It’s as though he’s taken a sample pack from 2050, with elements of sci-fi and electronica scattered throughout. Slacs’ explained to us that over 90 tracks had to be sacrificed for the final 12 to make the cut, the 12 disciples. 

 

 

“Like people can still prefer my older shit and I won’t see that as a problem like, end of the day like, obviously everybody grows and progresses and changes along the way, there’s gonna be different things, but just understand that, as each project is newer, there’s always like a level of progression there. Whether it’s skillset, mindset fucking composition, experiences, like everything man. So just know that everything’s all one big movement, so you know when someone prefers my older shit that’s cool, but just know that I’ve been in some of the maddest places in my head when I’ve been making this shit, so just know that”. – Quote from Track 5 – Dripcheck

 

When approaching this project, it was evident that Slacs’ wanted to push himself further than before, into murkier, unchartered waters. If you revisit his debut album, there’s a clear infancy, in terms of lyrical content and maybe to some extent production. It’s nothing short of professional, but it didn’t have the substance his next installations would provide, and certainly the substance ‘Useless Boredom’ provides. The consistency on that 2018 debut album, ‘Slumped’, was admirable, and for a debut, it showcased his ability to create unwaveringly and reliably. This direct approach is obvious throughout his releases and further demonstrates his calculation and focus. I wanted to attempt to dissect a few tracks from ‘Useless Boredom’, with the aims of scything through the meat and gristle of what makes Slacs Bianci so unique, and look at why he hasn’t quite broken the glass ceiling yet. At the risk of sounding too academic, let’s fucking get into it eh?

 

 

Track 2 – Eyesight

Probably the most delicately put together track on the album, ‘Eyesight’ suitably offers us a look through the lens of Slacs. The vulnerable key-led intro is coupled with a gradual percussive presence, for me, Slacs is at his best here. It’s easy to digest, non-complex and frankly simple. It’s almost a first sacrifice of self, of which there’s plenty right-through the album. The pitch changing ‘Sliccy’ ad libbing is a subtle reminder of this offering of self. Even after all that went into ‘No Effort’ and ‘Slicker’, he’s still got some baggage to offload, though the album has much brighter moments, this is very much the Slacs many have come to enjoy. The above quote cements this, when he notes change in all formats: Mindset, skillset, composition. ‘Eyesight’ is an alluring sound and one that a listener with a keen sense of detail will enjoy. Needless to say it’s been on repeat for a few days now.

“I began the project straight after slicker in 2019, aiming to release it in Jan 2020,  and then I realised that if I REALLY wanna make a 2020 album, then I need to actually experience 2020 init. Little did I know what this year would end up consisting of”

 

Track 5 – Here I Go Again ft. Rebecca Sophie

‘Here I Go Again’ entertains the notion of persistence in what’s otherwise been a tricky year to navigate. The title itself supports this idea, and evidences a sense of not giving up on what he wants. A friend of mine recently quoted a speech he’d seen, something to the effect of – “If you keep hacking away at a tree, do you not think that tree is going to fall down”. I can’t think of any one artist to which this quote applies to more than Slacs. He’s been perfecting his craft for a number of years now, and ‘Here I Go Again’ is a culmination of his striving. 

“It’s been difficult, detach myself from the physical”.

Rebecca Sophie offers that female directive which is naturally contrasting and needed. I hate drawing comparisons between artists, because each artist is quite rightly trying to carve their own uniqueness, but Rebecca Sophie has this Jorja Smith, blues-soothing elocution, which meets Slacs’ at multiple junctions during the track. It’s soft, slow and romantic. Far from the typical weed-induced slow jam, the track tells the tale of perseverance and hardship in a detailed and wholesome fashion.

“I even created the title ‘Useless Boredom’ way before lockdown, it was more an analogy of how a lot of negative and spiteful mindsets quite literally stem from boredom, and ain’t nutt’n useful ‘bout that lol”.

 

Track 4  – Tranquility ft. Garton

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Track 7 – Breeze ft. Garton

Tranquility is easily one of the more impressive sounds to come from the album. With an almost hypnotic hook and melody, Slacs and Garton offer a playful return of Notts solidarity. It’s a fresh style of production we’ve yet to associate with Slacs’.

I ain’t been ‘bout for a minute I’m patterning P’s” – Slacs

Sure the snares and percussive elements are where they should be, but the swirling melodic backdrop shows a new approach entirely. It’s another effortless transition for Slacs’, and we can’t stress enough how much you have to practice this to get it right; How much you have to sit and study music with the intentions of absorbing it to the point where you have the confidence to try something distanced of your usual style. He got it right, more to the point, both artists got it right.

Now not much is known about Garton, but we’d urge you to check his latest Album, ‘Fre5h’, to get a better feel of his sound. ‘Fre5h’ hosts a number of features, not least Slacs Bianci, and showcases a distinct style and procedure. His careful approach on ‘Tranquility’ marries the beat neatly; Every bar is timed and precision cut for the pacing of the song, which proves why Garton’s another feature on the album worth keeping an eye on moving forward.

We couldn’t mention this track without mentioning Garton’s other feature, ‘Breeze’. This was released as a single from the album around 2 months ago and it’s gained some traction since. It’s another exemplary combination of lyricism and production from two of Nottingham’s rising artists. I’ve written previously of Slacs Bianci’s abilities, how he seamlessly combines sounds; Thematically, it aligns with his previous works. We can hear these adroit reminders in the production; chimes and snares of the past, if you like. 

The amalgamation of Slacs’ and Gartons East Midlands inflections offer an entertaining to-and-fro. Unlike previous work, where Slacs has opted for a more honest and introspective style, ‘Breeze’ showcases a more open approach with Garton only furthering this notion. It’s freeing, wholesome and tangible, which is something Slacs may have felt challenged with previously. The situation the UK has found itself in for the last few months has seemingly impacted Slacs in a positive manner.

“My favourite track is either city dripping ft scarssurvived or freezing evenings (outro) ft Jay – Scars & I have so much music together over the years and I feel like city dripping embodies that in the best way possible, just incredibly organic. It’s the same way I love freezing evenings (outro), it just came together so organically and ended up representing the overall tone of the album the exact way I wanted it to, once Jay dropped her vocals on it was such a game changer”. 

 

Track 11 – Time Wasted ft Blackhaine

We finally wanted to assess the penultimate track on the album. It features Chorley’s Blackhaine, whose EP ‘Armour’ drops later this month. The track begins with a very simple drum set, sounding almost distant and muffled. Without warning, direction is led by Slacs’ with an opening engagement. His approach is powerful and fiery; A far cry from some of the previous tracks; Needless to say, no time was wasted on this one. 

You know what you’re getting with Blackhaine, an aggressive yet precise delivery of bar after bar after bar. It’s one of those tracks that would go fucking nuts at a live show. You can almost envisage it now, a sweaty, dark, small venue, Slacs beginning the procedure before Blackhaine rises from the mist to deliver the final blows. 

This northern combination is a great way to round off another brilliant body of work. We’re lucky, when it comes to Slacs Bianci, because the work rate is so high, we’ll blink and there’ll be another project en route. For this we owe our thanks. Slacs, keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll always have our backing, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you! 

@slacsbianci