Johnny Afghanseed is a former brass player turned electronic producer, who was introduced to production through friends and family – one being a DJ and the other being a Rapper. Johnny started using hardware drum machines and synthesizers in his teenage years, going home on lunch breaks and making beats, trying to find his own distinct and customized sound. The single “Distant Memories” is Afghanseed’s finest hour. It’s a wormhole view into the experimental potential of ambient and chill that is unlike anything around. Here, Johnny seems to be enjoying himself more than on any other record. The track is intelligent, innovative and percussively powerful, but it’s also hugely entertaining.
The song’s stampeding cavernous drums and humongous rhythm, rattles and churns every space it invades, so when a creative electronic producer like Johnny Afghanseed is at the height of his powers as he is here, the entire room will crumble right beneath the density of it all.
You’re compelled to listen for the 2 minutes and 20 second run-time, soaking it in as the arrangement quickly reveals itself. The sound is so invitingly hypnotic, that there is no way out but in. The truth is that, rather unsurprisingly, “Distant Memories” is one of the more purely enjoyable electronic music releases, in a terribly long time; vital by all means, but even more so considering who the source is.
Its clever musical detonations are proficient without a hint of slightness, melodic with a fair bit of sonic layering, inventive, inviting and plain old banging. An ambient track skirting the seas of dance and experimental, hammering away to get you reaching for the volume knob.
It is the sound of Johnny Afghanseed, the eclectic electronic producer landing in a sweet spot and totally nailing it from beginning to end. Whether you need Afghanseed at his most bombastic or sentient, he’s the sort of artist that doesn’t just make the body move, his intention is broader than such a binary might suggest. This latest version of Afghanseed adds more rhythmic spice as he explores and teases, both the body and the mind.
Johnny Afghanseed’s musicianship has undoubtedly become even more interesting. And despite the song’s burst into full-on fury, lures you in with a poly-rhythmic beat unfolding into meshes of electro keys. Johnny gallivants through the track with authority, travelling around his sound-world, ready to go wherever his pointed fingers lead him.
“Distant Memories” is masterfully arranged. The pace creeps across the keyboards with a throbbing pulse, wrapping itself around the stunningly spacey start. The terse snares smack and trade under a wash of synth flourishes, spattering out subtle melodies with intermittent eeriness.
Between the sear and smolder of the keys, and the rumble of the drums, if you’re on board with Johnny Afghanseed, “Distant Memories” has a lot to offer. He makes something new out of something tired, something powerful, innovative and undeniably captivating. There’s a patent skill required to build this kind of diamond cut production, clearly Johnny Afghanseed has it.