Originally published on 1.22.13 at DigBoston.com
In 2013 San Francisco native Charlie Yin had the biggest year of his life, playing festivals like Treasure Island and Decibel and graduating from supporting act to headliner in the Bay Area. Better known as Giraffage, Yin’s Facebook page says he produces and mixes “Sample-based Pop”. I like when an act can put up no illusion about what they do. Dude’s got his own style, looking like a well-dressed Jeremy Lin and sounding like whatever was playing before her Black Milk tights hit the floor and the sheets got wet. His first album Needs (released on Alpha Pup Records) is compelling in its ability to make classic samples nearly unrecognizable against a melange of beautiful bass and gorgeous glitch. The track “Feels” has found its way into each of my own DJ sets last year. With his familiar dreamy style, Giraffage has proven his ability to remix tracks both mellow and rapid.
Growing up in North Texas, I hold a certain place in my heart for Southern hip-hop and R&B. It’s always managed to make me kick up my heels and get my shoulders shrugging. More often than not, electronic dance music also has its way with me. Combining chopped and screwed rap with dance hall beats was an idea I had years ago. When trap became a thing, I was honestly a little pissed that it wasn’t me who made it happen.
The pop phenomena that followed proved to be quite fickle, as much trap music and many trap acts turned out to have no depth or skill. It’s often done right when the groove and bass takes precedent, and less becomes more. Some are referring to the slower and sensual style of trap as future bass, but I just don’t understand the use of qualifiers here. Instead, I like to call this deep trap. Y’all saw that one coming though, right? In the Do Lab Edition of Gotta Dance Dirty’s Guest Mix, San Francisco’s Giraffage has reminded me that I can, in fact, stomach deep trap tracks.
Giraffage gets our attention in the onset of this mix with the syrupy “I Think About You”, a recent release from French DJ Canblaster. With our dream logs pulled up on our Androids, he plays two untitled, unreleased tracks of his own. I seriously love the combination of Final Fantasy-style electro flute+piano sounds and introspective R&B vocals on the first one. The second is a deep trap refix of The Dream’s “Playin’ in Her Hair”, complete with augmented pre-teen pitched love croons and slow repeating hip-hop high-hats. Next up is “Syrup” a track by Stwo, a 21-year-old Parisian producer who seems to be unable to label the style of music he is making.
The mix turns weird as Giraffage reminds us he spins “sample-based pop”, as he gives us relatively unknown London vocalist Hannah Diamond’s bubblegum song “Pink and Blue”, followed by Japanese Nu-Disco group Orland’s “Manhattan in Love” and a taste of Lane 8’s edit of Spandeau Ballet’s one-hit wonder, “True”. There is no stranger, and perhaps endearing, moment on this mix than J-POP royalty’s Mariko Kouda’s “Moment”. Talk about curveballs.
Giraffage gets us back to the original groove with some Curl Up, a mysterious new producer on Plastician’s Terrorhythm label. I really dig the digital, acid synth play on trap on the track featured in this mix, “Computerus”. Giraffage slows Kaytranada’s “Hilarity Duff” down to bring it seamlessly into Lil Silva’s grimy banger “The Split”. He then changes gears by mixing in some ’80s pop tracks. Listening to The Jets 1986 hit “Crush on You” and then New Edition’s “Cool it Now” back-to-back would have never happened to me in a million years if it wasn’t for this mix. No bells and whistles needed here; DJ just lets these play.
“Take a Stance” is a track by Tokyo-based producer Grooveman Spot. Gotta say that this track is mad cool, like a dubby trip-hop walkabout. Once again, Giraffage lays a little of his signature sound down here by lowering the tempo and minimal atmospheric effects. He draws this mix to a close with some smooth jazz, that other sound of my youth, in the form of Talon Bourne’s “Sweet Necessities”. I love how he manages to make a smooth jazz song even smoother through his mixing. This mix somehow manages to maintain its continuity and that Giraffage attitude despite the super random assortment of tunes.