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HATS TM - last stop (RISER)

23 May 2024

As someone who did his musical growing up in the eighties and nineties and did so just a stone’s throw away from the city of Bristol, this new one from HATS TM is a tangible reminder of a time, place, sound, and style. If trip-hop is to have a new chapter, then it is through songs like this, and via artists who can take the essence of what made that scene so great in the first place and mix it with more contemporary sounds.

After all, the trip-hop sound was forged by people who were prepared to contemplate what came next rather than where music had been before, so to capture that same essence and sense of adventure, artists must be prepared to do the same.

And “last stop” is the sound of precisely that happening. For every urban beat and glorious echo of trip-hop past, we find twice the amount of lingering, liminal atmospheres, neo-soul flourish, spacious dancefloor understatement, or electronic flourish.

Many people, usually those still clutching desperately to piles of old rock vinyl records, try to tell us that modern technology, the use of synths and samples, digital creativity, and the like, will only result in lowest common denominator electronic music. Well, those people, who are quite deluded by the way, should hear artists such as HATS TM and tracks such as “last stop” and then look me in the eye and tell me, in all honesty, that the world isn’t a better place for such musical evolutions.