I like to slow things down now again- just kick back, lay back, and stay in my lane. This mood typically kicks in just after leaving the office (most days at least), and I am always seeking some tunes to enzyme the reaction. Instrumental lounge type beats sometimes fit the bill quite nicely- the downshift from high stress to neutral. That relaxed placed, melodic, and sample laden landscape can be chocolate to the ears. You know what I’m talking about. The newest artist to hit the lounge scene is a producer, soon-to-be-performer, and most importantly, fan of such tastes- Chocolate Wolf out of NYC! Rabbits Black had a chance to profile the Wolf, and bring you the exclusive here…
With a birthplace and childhood in 1990’s Southern California, it is no wonder why Alok Vasishta (aka Chocolate Wolf) has been swayed to create music, specifically the “laid back, unpretentious type.” Growing up playing violin, vocals, and keyboard doesn’t hurt either; the fundamentals are ingrained. The choice to gravitate toward a more instrumental sound rather than a more vocal driven style is due to the flexibility you get to sample and incorporate a wide spectrum of sounds into the track. Influences like A Tribe Called Quest, Outkast, RJD2, J Dilla (RIP), and Nujabes (RIP), The Roots, Quasimoto have helped to shape Wolf’s sound. Elements of hip-hop, jazz, classical, and electronic are all cleverly weaved together- imagine the ideal audio background music to a spinning kaleidoscope. After growing up and attending college in Southern California, the Wolf has since migrated across the plains to NYC and officially released his first full length EP A Wolf in Man’s Clothing earlier this month on Sound Cloud and available to sample below.
The magic of A Wolf in Man’s Clothing happens with an Arturia MiniLab Midi Controller and Ableton Live as software support. The albums themed concept is a journey across the country, from California to NYC, echoing the life of CW. Since there are no written vocals into the album, audible hints to this theme come through strategically placed samples throughout each track. I asked CW about his thoughts on sampling: “I look for a few things in a sample. I love rich, soulful samples that just immediately put you at ease. Old school stuff like Aretha Franklin, neo soul stuff, and contemporary jazz, just really classy shit. I don’t think it’s used enough in electronic music and I think there’s a lot of potential to classy up the genre. I look for samples where I just know if you cut it up, add a bit of delay, echo, or maybe some reverb and just mess around with effects you can make it feel almost hypnotic.” And of course “I also love experimenting with wolf howls, growls, hunting calls, really eerie stuff…” which RB found as a great way to integrate a unique sample signature into the beats. You will hear a howl near the end of a track and be sure it was CW’s!
Another element to any DJ’s rise in the scene is the live performance. RB asked Chocolate Wolf about his plans to step out, set up, and jam in the streets of NYC. The EP release party for A Wolf in Man’s Clothing is scheduled for Thursday, September 25th at the Brian Morris Gallery in NYC (RSVP here). Personal artwork, new tracks, lighting, and other ambiance related features are under development, and CW takes pride in his curiosity to keep experimenting. “My music to me is an expression of where I’m from and where I am now as well as the people that have been a part of that journey so some way of highlighting that would mean a lot to me.” Pair this performance vision with a whole slew of new tracks in the works- and the experience of CW live is shaping up to be something special!
Well, after learning more about Chocolate Wolf and listening to the album several times over, RB cannot wait for the chance to hit NYC and catch a show! For those fans out there that have a knack for chilling out and down shifting from the normal haze of a high stress life, check out A Wolf in Man’s Clothingand be hypnotized with melodic relaxation. Like Chocolate Wolf on FB and share his stuff with friends!
Sample Tracks from A Wolf in Man’s Clothing: