LiveMag SA is thrilled to exclusively announce the launch of Escapism Refuge‘s hot new release, Clone Trails EP!
BUY HERE on Bandcamp!
Escapism Refuge is just-turned 20-year-old Jason Beukes from Johannesburg.
Jason first hit my radar sometime in 2012, when he was selected as a guest DJ for the now-defunct Style vs Sound series run by Joburg scene kings Okmalumekoolkat and DJ Danger Ingozi along with style fundi Nomahlubi Mtimkhuli of Style v/s Fashion.
Besides his deft capture of the post-dubstep/ future-garage sound then just beginning to swell, the name Escapism Refuge really stuck when I heard Jason’s original productions and remixes.
As 2013 draws to a close, Live spent the afternoon with Jason to catch up on where he’s been, and where he intends to go.
First creating from the tender age of 13 on a drum kit he begged from his parents, the young beat-head soon segued into producing music on software Frooty Loops, then Reason, then a self-created Reasonable Froot fusion, before getting into the Logic he now produces on. He justifies the move from drummer to producer by noting that on an instrument like a drum kit, there are only so many ways to express yourself. As a producer though, the options – the sounds, layers, tempos and concepts – are limitless.
Tagging most of his Soundcloud with ‘Experimental’, I ask Jason about genre-identification. Does ‘experimental’ give him room to stay genre-defying and flexible in his sound? His response is one of the many that reveal just how deeply the man is connected to the music. It’s easy to imagine a teenage Jason raising himself on his own beats. “It’s less the genre and more the method,” he responds, mentioning the branches he scratches along his bedroom walls and finding ways to play household non-instruments, always in search of new and fresh sounds.
And the name? If music-making is the ‘escapism’, Jason has found his refuge, an anchor in the storm of escapist chaos, in this moniker. The depth of sound and delicate unfoldings of melody that have begun to characterise his still-young catalogue pay tribute to this.
Of his musical upbringing, Jason (like most born-free youth!) name drops George Benson as a primary figure in the smooth jazz of his paternal upbringing and Yeoville-based early youth. By the early 2000s, Jason was tied up in early indie/ late experimental rock, but by the late 2000s, was obsessing over the unexpected, fresh and heavy early UK dubstep sound of producers like Kode9.
After saying goodbye in the afternoon, I catch Jason a few hours later at BeatNN, one of the Wednesday party crews hosting a monthly night at Kitcheners. Despite the mid-week, mid-exam time slot, the bar is busy with a mix of Wednesday night refugees left over from lunch-time, and the growing crowd of BeatNN regulars.
When Escapism Refuge takes to the decks after the weighty post-hip hop of Ando and That Nigga Rufus, it isn’t long before the educated ears of the BeatNN regulars and the dancefloor desire of the refugees are peaked. Moving between beats and moods, Escapism Refuge works it out with an ease that belies his age, but stands as clear testimony to the 7 years of focus he has invested in his craft. By the time he seamlessly drops his own early-dubstep-tribute production in the last ten minutes, his reign over this time and space is undisputable.
So what’s next for this beat-impassioned kid?
Clone Trails EP closes 2013 on a heavier, more dancefloor-oriented note for the young producer. It’s an exciting movement to witness, bringing to my mind other young-starters, like Nicholas Jaar and Matthew Dear’s early Audion offerings.
As he completes his studies at a local music college, he wistfully mentions ‘every artist’s dream’ to sign to majors like Ninjatune. Given the hours Jason has already put in, and his position on the crest of the new-wave of experimental, dancefloor-oriented electronic producers, Jason’s dream is sounding closer and closer to reality.
Tumblr: BEAT NN
Photography by: Thulasizwe Blacknation Simelane
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