With the any-day impending demise of Soundcloud and the contraction of the blogosphere, discovering cool new music in the far-flung corners of the Internet has become intensely more difficult. Despite the millions of songs at our fingertips, there are myriad horrific statistics indicating that [some huge] percentage of listening is focused on [some tiny] percentage of songs. That is, there are entire realms of music, subgenres and sub-sub-genres, that go unheard, musty and stale in the dankest dungeons of Spotify and Apple Music. It could well be the inverse application of age and free time, but I swear I used to find so much weird stuff on the Internet. Now, the powers that be have cleaned up the offerings, swept the difficult-to-attribute or ungainly long song titles under a rug and trumpeted only the sanitized, label-approved version of everything. It’s sad and wrong and not how I came across Kraak & Smaak.
There was no ‘Discover Weekly’ or ‘Rap Caviar’ to autonomously, robotically guide me towards what I should like when I first discovered and posted on Kraak & Smaak back in June of 2009. The way I stumbled upon them was likely the way I stumbled upon everyone outside the mainstream in those days – through a happy combination of happenstance, curiosity and dumb luck. But the rabbit holes of the Internet have mostly been plugged up with corporate goop, the warrens destroyed by the monolithic stomp of curated playlists and ‘Recommended For Yous’. Which makes it that much more exciting to re-engage with the Leiden, Netherlands trio working their magic on a newish track from Parcels, a band that itself has some unique history.
How Parcels, a five piece from Byron by way of Berlin, channeling Fleetwood Mac vibes, came to get the funky treatment from the Dutch trio is beyond me. All I know is that I’m ecstatic that such chance collaborations still have a place in 2017’s music landscape and still sound as fresh, unique and sharply accretive as they did in their heyday, a decade ago now. If you haven’t heard Parcels’ brand of retro-disco before (a distinct possibility given the band hasn’t released an album yet), that is one lead worth chasing up. But here we get the best of two worlds as Kraak & Smaak puts the group through its understated funky wringer, evoking the best of The Whitest Boy Alive and Peter Bjorn and John in the process. The track is something that harks back to a more innocent age, when reworks didn’t have to be label-sanctioned or even artist-approved, as long as the result built by standing on the original’s shoulders rather than diminished it. So it is with ‘Allaround’, atmospheric and moody, groovy and, most importantly, different.
Parcels – Allaround (Kraak & Smaak Remix)