Irish producer Sal Dulu’s debut “Xompulse” is a love letter to hip-hop in the form of late-night musings, wrapped up in delicate jazz tones serenaded by electronica music.
Released February 19th, 2021, Duluoz Records.
Looking back at Sal Dulu’s earliest work from 2017, the Irish producer’s love of illustrious, electronica soundscapes has been his biggest selling point consistently over the past four or so years. Transitioning from Soundcloud hype approved ‘Duluoz Dream’ to the classical piano composition of now title tracked ‘Xompulse’ back in 2019, Dulu’s ability to shift between contemporary stylings and classical arrangements are the true standout feature of “Xompulse”.
A change arose in the Dublin producers work with ‘Xompulse’, bringing an air of seriousness and self-respect to his style of electronica, similar to London’s Real Lies or fellow Irish artist For Those I Love, heard throughout the whole LP. Bringing his love of hip-hop to the centre of “Xompulse”, tracks ‘Buzzcut’, ‘B’ and ‘Zumo’ stand out as the love letters to a genre that has massively influenced his entire body of work, drawing similarities to Massive Attack or DJ Shadow. Guests vocalist staHHr, Koncept Jack$son and Fly Anakin all transport “Xompulse” to their respective parts of the US, backed by Dulu’s cinematic electro; meticulously crafting regional hip-hop and blending in harmoniously as if Dulu was actually a pioneer of the genre on his fifth album rather than his debut.
This knows-no-boundaries essence is strongest on Sal Dulu’s instrumental tracks, particularly the album’s opener ‘Ariel Visions’ and following track ‘She Belongs To Roth’. Beginning as a cryptic, old-cinema composition, spiked with abrasive brass instrumentation, ‘Ariel Visions’ quickly shifts its veil to reveal a gorgeously layered piece of jazz and electronica, casting off into a myriad of genres colliding into one another all at once for an explosion of dramatic proportions, but, one that immediately cements “Xompulse” as not just being another electronica LP. ‘
She Belongs To Roth’ then sets “Xompulse” out into its hazy sea of jazz and hip-hop styles, achieving the vast expansive sound of Caribou, Bonobo or Four Tet, with a comforting grey nostalgia that welcomes the more quiet moments of life with vividly colourful memories. Singles ‘Alien Boy 96’ and ‘Girl’ similarly bring a nostalgic feel to the table, bursting into glorious displays of sample splicing and thunderous beat making on ‘Alien Boy 96’, and suave, trip-hop styling with ‘Girl’.
“Xompulse” collectively expands into hip-hop and its subgenres, utilising the wealth of beats and samples from the US scene before fleshing them out into decadent cinematic soundscapes that display the vision and charm of everyday Ireland. Sal Dulu’s work on his debut demonstrates a producer unafraid to consistently strive to create music bigger than life itself, yet who knows how to balance this out with the delicacy and grace many struggle to even find in the first place.