Posted on July 16th, 2012 (1:28 pm) by Aaron Klavon

There are few artists I can never come to terms with. Half their music will have my full adoration fueled by something original or extremely talented that’s shown through. The other half will frustrate me with something trite or self-indulgent. After listening to Whispers In The Dark Supreme Cuts are firmly implanted on that list. The Chicago duo, other wise known as Mike Perry and Austin Keultjes, provide some really good tracks heavy on reverbs, hip-hop drums, distorted vocal samples, synths, snares, claps, and other effects blended into a sound recalings renowned producer Clams Casino. Last summer we got the Trouble EP from them, but Whispers In The Dark is their first full release. This is really talented hip-hop production duo, with electronic capabilities, but there latest effort is not without some hiccups. While the album won’t go down as a overly memorable, it does help to grow Supreme Cuts’ sound into something more distinct.

The Trouble EP was good, but it is one thing to compose a few tracks and another to compose an album. An album forces an artist to consider the production as a whole, and create a unifying theme or purpose. Supreme Cuts definitely did that and Whispers In The Dark is a really good addition to the growing hip-hop movement toward slow-tempo stripped-down scattered bass-centric beats. The move from EP to full length release may have caused them to produce too much from one singular inspiration, and led to issues with redundancy and gorging on the effects they love. Whispers In The Dark is a slow tempo haze of hip-hop influences including the local Chicago footwork scene and southern hip-hop, especially DJ Screw, and maybe just promethazine itself. “Whispers PT1” and “Whispers PT2 “ are warm the listener up for the first and second halves of the album, respectively, and they do a great job, but these won't be mistaken for singles. The first traditional track, “Lessons of Darkness (Apology),” evolves from a tribal drum beat to a full exploration of Supreme Cuts’ fondness for scattering synths, kicks, and those distorted vocal samples. The thing that hurts “Lessons of Darkness (Apology)” and stops it from being better than good is the length. It didn’t need to be over six minutes. The next track on the album “(Youngster Gone Off That) Sherm” shines in spots, but suffers from their aforementioned gorging. “Ciroc Waterfalls” is one of my personal favorites off of Whispers In The Dark, and a crazy show of talent for Supreme Cuts creating some amazing textures and perfecting the ambient synths around them as a simple frame not distracting from the painting, but worthy of holding it. “18th” is more melodic and really the best track after “Ciroc Waterfalls.” “Belly” and “Val Venus” suffer because they don’t stand out in any way, just recycling Supreme Cuts motifs without adding anything particularly new or interesting; they aren’t bad, though, just forgettable.

Supreme Cuts put together a nice record for their first time out. They had a few missteps and overindulgences, but they proved they have immense talent too no doubt. These two already have a lot cooked up for the future. A mixtape with talented young spitter Haleek Maul is on the horizon. Based on what we have heard from that teaming so far it should be a good one. We saw definitive signs of growth from Supreme Cuts on Whispers In The Dark, and we are really big fans of the explorative, mellow direction they’ve taken. Some of the textures they create on Whispers In The Dark really stand out, but the album suffers from some of the same traps a lot of young producers fall in to. We are really looking forward to the next album from these young producers because when the work out some of the kinks they’ve shown the talent to be something special.

Track Review:
1. Whispers PT1
2. Lessons Of Darkness (Apology)
3. (Youngster Gone Off That) Sherm
4. E2
5. Ciroc Waterfalls
6. Intermission
7. Whispers PT2
8. Belly
9. Epitome
10. 18th
11. Val Venus
12. Whispers In The Dark

Supreme Cuts, Whispers In The Dark, Chicago, Footwork,Hip-Hop
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

66 / 100
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