yuk.

Paraiso

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AllMusic Review by

Chad Valencia may be much busier as a chef and restaurant owner than a musician, but his scant discography as yuk. is a thing of detached, dreamlike beauty. Four years after releasing the unjustly overlooked LP a n a k in 2015, he returned with the 18-minute EP Paraiso, the first of two releases. Valencia doesn't explain the project much beyond stating that the work is informed by his Filipino heritage, so much is open to listener interpretation. Operating on the outer fringes of the Los Angeles beat scene, his tracks float between hip-hop and ambient sound collage, with blunted beats punctuating a fluid mixture of reversed voices and acoustic instruments such as harps and guitars. Everything here sounds perfectly constructed to seem loose and off-kilter -- the beats often tumble out of the speakers rather than lead the charge, and there's an audible snap to the tape loops which resemble glaring seamwork. Yet all of this sounds unmistakably deliberate and controlled, giving Valencia's music a handmade, personal quality. He flirts with house and boogie on the chiming thumper "oasis of light," then sinks back into a dimly lit living room with the lucid daydream "ika." He triggers nostalgic impulses on tracks like "tortay & friends," which layers grainy synths and a delicate acoustic guitar melody over a backdrop of children playing and a dub-informed rhythm. Aside from the beat-heavy tracks, the EP's pace is carried by shorter pieces such as the gorgeously ethereal loop interlude "remember," ending up with "dust," a bleary orb of slow, smudged guitar vibrations. Valencia's brand of lo-fi beatmaking sounds suitable for a lazy afternoon, but it's far more distinct than the seemingly bottomless pool of Dilla and Nujabes copycats, and Paraiso is another brief but tantalizing glimpse into his creative mind.

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