The Westbound EP is the debut beat tape by Alexander IV – the latest pseudonym of eclectic Dutch producer, multi-instrumentalist and illustrious tunesmith, Joris Feiertag. As a music maker largely known for his club friendly offerings, Joris uses the Macedonian monarch’s title to delve into the more rootsical side of his sonic output – taking in hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul influences along the way.
The scene is set with the melancholic 1988 – a track which combines boom-bap drums, ethereal vocal samples, loose guitars, strident percussion and haunting synths with dubbed out horns and atmospheric spoken word to take you back to what was surely a simpler time.
This is followed by Rue, which continues where 1988 leaves off with more sleepy guitars, sunny keys, hip hop beats and somewhat incoherent yet celestial voices. The piece then takes a sharp left turn to deliver more of a dub flavour, complete with heavily treated percussive stabs and a plethora of echoes and effects.
What Moves Me is a much sunnier and life affirming cut, as hefty beats trade blows with buoyant chants and expectant piano; whereas The One takes a far more lugubrious and wistful turn, filled with regret emphasized by sombre keys and moody vocals.
Finally, having run a gamut of emotions, the EP comes to a close with That Blew My Mind, which sees the producer return to his love of all things reggae. The track kicks off in sprightly mode with a skanking beat making way for a weighty bassline and assured vocal samples. Add to that heavyweight horn lines and you’ve got a rocksteady offering that’ll prepare you perfectly for brighter days to come.
Alexander IV’s music fuses organic and electronic elements with ease, which isn’t surprising given the artist’s experience not only as a consummate dance music maker, but also as drummer of choice for Dutch superstars Kraak & Smaak. Add to that an extended family of gifted musicians, and you’ve got something brand new yet retro; uncomplicated yet masterful.