Save for a couple of blurry photographs and download links for its new record, there is next to no information on Beach Demon to be found on the Web. This may or may not be purposeful, but either way the Portland, OR, beat constructor seems to love obscurity. The faint and faded image on the album cover looks like it could be a still lifted from Rashomon, and in fact, Beach Demon’s Slow Motion Death shares a number of commonalities with the Kurosawa classic: It’s short, quick-moving, at times hard to make out what’s going on, and its finish leaves one wondering what exactly has just happened, no matter how many times it’s been played.
Alternately abrasive and mellowed, Slow Motion Death puts a psychedelic garage spin on post-Dilla loop-based beat making, with as much attention paid to the distortion and filters as the patterning of the samples themselves. Beach Demon has an affinity for shuffling, off-kilter rhythms, either mangling his samples into disjointed cadences or simply laying them over top of his otherwise syncopated patchwork beats. This kind of recipe, placing a disorienting bite into compositions that might trigger a steady head nod without them, adds a noise flavor to the mix that succeeds on cuts like the bombastic opener “Out Of My Head” and the twisted funk of “Uptown,” but serves only to muddle up and agitate tracks like “Late Night At Dolores” and “Pleasure Shore Resort,” making for a frustrating listen.
While Beach Demon pulls sounds from a number of aural palettes, from 8-bit Game Boy blips (“Acid Drop”) to oldies R&B vocal samples (“You And Me”) to floating guitar caresses (“Slow Motion Death”), the entire record feels streamlined. The songs drift into one another without friction, while the disfigured rhythms and periodic monologue samples manage to thread the entire kaleidoscopic 26 minutes into one great big left-field beat suite.