Opening with the steady pulse of a repetitive bass line and Chinouriri’s smokey vocals, Subculture underlays the surface of “The River Bend” with twisting, constantly shifting percussion, eerie, ricocheting electronics and piercing, haunting bursts of woodwind and brass, letting these elements build until they overtake the song. Says Subculture, “I wanted to create something classic sounding with a futuristic spin, kinda like if Kanye produced a Nina Simone record.”
Taken from his 2019 critically praised mixtape, I Dream of Everything, “The River Bend” embodies Subculture’s fluid approach to genre and ability to seamlessly maneuver between styles, honed over years of producing, songwriting and DJ’ing. The result is distinct: a collage-style of production that sounds as though you’re flicking through a box of dusty records in real-time, picking up a bit of hip hop here, jazz there, psychedelic electronics and a little soul along the way. Drawing on these influences, Subculture creates an emotional soundscape laden with tension.
Says the video’s director Otis Dominique, who is also behind recent striking visuals for Kojey Radical, Nike, and more, “when I sat down with Subculture and heard ‘The River Bend’ for the first time, I knew the film had to be made! Symbolically, Rachel stumbles across a place that’s unfamiliar to her on her journey. Confronted by strange, unwelcoming inhabitants that try to deter her from her path, she builds confidence and resilience as she takes them on one by one. A feeling of judgment is sensed throughout the piece and I really wanted that to intensify as her walk grew longer.”
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and with the intent to spark more action in the fight towards racial equality, a portion of label streaming revenue from “The River Bend” will be donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund as well as The Black Curriculum.