Until Then – Beats by Sean One
By Matt Carter
I first caught wind of Sean One’s latest release just over a year ago. His previous album, Jack Nicholson, was still a constant on my playlist when he asked me to shoot some photos for his next album. I’ve admired and enjoyed his work, both solo and as a member of First Words, for years and admittedly, I was excited at the possibility of contributing my own work to his next album project. But what excited me more was the news that he was preparing to drop another album. That was back in the fall of 2013. I’ve been waiting ever since. We all have.
Since dropping Jack Nicholson in early 2013, Sean has kept busy with his own work, as well as working with some of the most recognized names in East Coast Hip Hop. He contributed beats to the most recent solo release from prolific Halifax rapper, Ghettosocks and he produced and recorded an entire album’s worth of material with longtime First Words collaborator, Above, for his September 2014 release, High Water Mark. Back in January, Sean hinted towards some new material of his own with the release of the track Right, Left, Right,Left (Exercise No. 6), a testament to his knowledge and skill as a beat producer, demonstrating his interest in pushing the boundaries of the bass, snare, hi-hat relationship. But for those anticipating a full meal offering, the wait would continue until the end of November 2014.
Throughout history, November 30th has marked the introduction of a lot of great albums. On this day back ’68, Sly & The Family Stone released Everyday People. On November 30, 1970, George Harrison released the triple album, All Things Must Pass in the US, and in ’82, Epic Records released Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Now we can add one more great album to the list – Until Then, Beats By Sean One.
I’ve learned two things from this latest collection of music. First, all good things take time, and when it comes to a complete collection of new tunes from one of the country’s best kept secrets, the wait is worth it. Secondly, Sean One is a master of his craft – a meticulous composer, arranger and producer with an ear for the brilliant subtleties that separate the amateurs from the pros. He’s the real deal – a few rungs up the ladder.
The album opens with the appropriately titled track, Waiting. The sampled quote, “Well, wait are we waiting for?” repeats throughout the album’s introduction, almost as if he’s acknowledging the time it took to get this album out and poking fun at a question he’s probably been asked countless times over the past year.
The album’s 11 tracks flow through 31 minutes of catchy melodies and clever samples. His use of off-set rhythms and cut-time-beats are at times, reminiscent of Scott Herron’s early-era Prefuse recordings, but make no mistake, this is all Sean One, and he’s taken things to the next level.
Matt Carter | @m_j_c73