When it comes to instrumentals, I’m a hard one to convince. People have sent me well-crafted instrumental hip-hop beats before, but somehow they never really catch my attention fully.
Until one did. Meet Sum Total, a Bronx-based beatmaker that in the offline spheres goes by the name of Trav Shapiro. Two weeks ago, he released yet another album. FREE-FORM has an impressive number of 28 tracks that are labeled under the genre “Instrumental Improvisations”. With fully uppercase track titles like SPEAK and BEHIND U, it’s hard to dissect what the track will sound like — though often its related to the sample used.
To me, the tracks show the talent behind the artist Sum Total. Each song is perfectly balanced, having just enough of a sample, or just enough bass or just enough rhythmic changes to keep your ears interested. My favorite? LIZARD LOUNGE MUSIC, that track made me stop working to write this review because I was sitting here like “DAAAAAHUMMMMMMNNN”. Thanks for that magic moment, Trav.