Emir Hermono: Beats & Breakups

source: Emir Hermono

Healing from a breakup is not easy. Like peeling off a band-aid from an old wound, moving forward always comes with a price. As we attempt to make sense of everything, it’s so easy to question our actions as one carefully considers the could haves and what ifs. It’s so easy to reminisce, wistfully reliving moments spent with another, a bittersweet action that pulls us further back than push us forward. Music helps, however, especially in the case of Emir Hermono aka The Shakes’ latest release aptly titled Beats & Breakups.

Beats & Breakups is a beat tape with a story, a narrative that follows the events that unfold in the period following an ephemeral relationship. Sampling some Indonesian classics like Rafika Duri’s ‘Tersiksa Lagi’ and Utha Likumahuwa’s ‘Esok Kan Masih Ada’, the tape incorporates a sound that doesn’t completely eschew Hermono’s Indonesian roots. Fun fact: Hermono spent his first 13 years in West Papua before moving to Kuala Lumpur for the continuation of his studies. Much of the exposure and experience garnered seems to have bled into the 23-year-old’s own music production as he brings personal experiences onto his plate in the form of Beats & Breakups. Sampling isn’t limited to old Indonesian classics as one would catch hints of r’n’b, from Justin Timberlake to Mariah Carey, and conversation excerpts taken from 500 Days of Summer in his tracks. It’s subtle but sweet.

In seven tracks and two skits, Hermono achieves an admirable equilibrium. What is pleasantly filled in our ears is a cohesive collection of chilled, relaxed instrumental beats that are neither too delicate nor too rough for the most sensitive of listening ears belonging to the brokenhearted. Emir Hermono’s production walks a thin line between ambient and lo-fi, his beats somehow falling neatly between the two. Think J Dilla by way of Ta-ku, a melodic blend of jazzy hip hop and mellow electronic — production that wouldn’t be out of place among the new breed of Australian DJ-producers.

LISTEN TO: ‘Trusting Too Much’

Download Beats & Breakups here.