Jacob Collier shares the best head-noddin' chill vibes on "Time Alone With You" featuring Daniel Caesar.



Chill beats can be somewhat disappointing, despite their popularity. While the mellow moods and late-night hypnotism sound nice, tailor-made for marathon study sessions in slick, minimal modernist coffee shops, it's a bit alarming that even our listening habits seem like they need to serve the dictates of late capitalism, where we're expected to be productive at all times, even during our downtime. The message seems to be - you must serve the all-mighty bottom line, or else.

It seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, as the laid-back 90 BPM hip hop beats create an altered state, meditative and vision-inducing, while the warm and woozy keys bring to mind late-night viewing with eyes half-focused. It's far stranger and more surreal than the aural wallpaper of most chill lo-fi beats playlists.

On "Time Alone With You," Jacob Collier turns the template on its head, playing up the altered states of low-slung hip-hop/r&b, transforming the stark white minimalism of most chill beats into a kind of New Age Soul Jazz, that reminds us why we fell in love with artists like Flying Lotus or Thundercat in the first place.

It's truly the best of both worlds. Let's be real, some latter-day Soul/Funk/Jazz, a la Bernie Worrell, George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, or P-Funk can sound kind of goofy, while we simultaneously admire their extraterrestrial outreness, their pure extra-ness. We admire their forward-pushing futurism while simultaneously acknowledging that maybe some of the substances those soundtracks were created for have since gone extinct. We're not on enough animal tranquilizers for some of that stuff, but they still have their moments.

"Time Alone With You" makes the most of the technological advances of the 21st Century, most specifically the tools to make ultra-clean productions even from humble studios as well as razor sharp songwriting instincts from several decades of listening to the entirety of recorded music.

In short, "Time Alone With You" is smooth enough for your bedroom seduction mixtapes and playlists while still being weird and kind of edgy, in the best possible way. We Are: The Guard are optimistic regarding the current state of indie music, a scant few minutes before the next roaring '20s. The past and the future come together in a strange kaleidoscope of heart and cybernetics. We Are: The Guard cannot wait to see what this next decade has in store!  


J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.