Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, electronic duo 700 Feel prostrate themselves before So It Goes, the 2014 debut album from NYC hip hop crew RATKING.
700 Feel is the project of Jonny Reebok and Myspacejuan, aka Jonny Hawkins and Juan Villamor. The Sydney/Gadigal duo inhabit a wide area of electronic music territory, taking in tactile club sounds akin to Four Tet, experimental productions informed by Nicolas Jaar’s Against All Logic as well as strands of ambient soundscapes and inner city hip hop. Listen to their latest EP, Muscle Memories Vol. 1, at the bottom of this page.
700 Feel’s love letter to RATKING’s So It Goes
700 Feel: This might be a bit predictable given our name and all the various references to this group in our music, but So It Goes is the one album that influenced both of us the most. It came to us at a very formative time in high school and had references to everything we were into, both separately and together.
You could go so far as to say this album bonded us when we met. Without So It Goes there would be no 700 Feel. We related to RATKING aesthetically and ideologically. These were kids who were our age, melding together DIY punk, hip hop, graffiti aesthetics, unapologetically and tastefully.
We felt their energy on the opening track when they said, “We advanced, got our advance / Copped a couple amps / Now we enhanced.” We felt their confusion and anger on ‘Remove Ya’. Most of all, the way they painted pictures of New York City on cuts like ‘Canal’, ’Snow Beach’, and ‘So It Goes’ had us hooked and helped us embrace our love for Sydney – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Musically, we’d never heard anything like it. Sporting Life’s extremely warped samples and his heavy use of delay really set the scene for those messy, noisy New York landscapes. Despite that inherent messiness, it was always grounded with heavy 808s and subs and huge trap snares. Wiki’s bars were angsty, witty, and we always felt like they had the energy of a grime MC. Hak’s crooning and storytelling was another layer to the whole thing that gave it that sort of avant-garde feel.
Not only did So It Goes draw from elements of punk and hip hop, but Sporting Life’s production took inspiration from grime, footwork, Memphis horrorcore, and experimental electronic. The opening track (‘*’) and ‘Protein’ sound like punk-footwork if that genre existed. ‘Remove Ya’ is an intense grime track. And what the hell is ‘Puerto Rican Judo’? I always wondered that. They’re singing and rapping over a slow drum break with these big toms underneath. It doesn’t really make any sense.
Despite being able to hear all the elements I mentioned above, they never did anything straightforward. They created a truly unique sound from seemingly disparate influences.