Channel Tres serves us with the pre-pandemic nostalgia we’ve all been craving in his EP i can’t go outside; throwing us into an ‘intro’ where he lights up, writes up, and begins to sew a smooth groove beneath his hazy stories in seclusion, we can’t help but hear the shattered vignettes of
2020 try to piece themselves together. And so, his nervous drum beats reverse, rewind and then replay into ‘2000 chevy malibu’, a memory of careless teenage wonder as Channel reminisces cruising around in his first car. It’s this rewound memory, interspersed with sun-sedated mumbles, which then takes us on a ride through the entire EP.
Since 2018, Channel’s been on the map for blending the boundaries between hip-Chicago-house and soul-machine Detroit techno. With “skate depot”, he brings a certain sensuality found only of this blend and layers it with the sweet sound of West Coast rap, going on retrospectively about his first job at a skate rink: “I’m gonna take you to a place that we ride/
We shook and jiving let them problems pass you by”. He offers us the bliss and blunders of this early memory — his first sight of independence, and the freedom to trip in his own tracks of it.
Yet, what’s left behind is this undeniable sense of longing; the desire to trip in your own tracks as we all once did — skip a few days of school, drink too much, get fired from your first job — without the nauseating fear of the future. ‘fuego’, a collaboration which reverbs Tyler the Creator’s Goblin era, snaps between these mirrored memories of isolation relationships. Channel journals the mental processes of this time period and the creative and emotional fluctuations we’ve all faced this past year. Recalling jazz
beats of Charlie Mingus, the upbeat instrumentals carry the weight of their sexually loaded phrases until coming to a breaking point. Then Channel falters, “I can’t let that shit go/ It’s a joke, unreal”. It’s this dizzying swing between being carefree and being all-too-conscious that contributes to the EP’s uniquely self-reflective spirit.
Fusing elements of the soulful and simple Detroit techno with the Compton-kissed G-funk rhymes, “unfinished” becomes a hymn for the eclectic. Channel finishes this purgatory project off by proclaiming that he’s working on even better things, leaving us with high hopes for the future.
Header image: Yazz Alali