Walkabeat is a Finnish one-man project that composes music by re-arranging urban soundscape recordings. The project's intention is, to my understanding, to bring forth familiar sounds and soundscapes, but in a new shape and form. This untitled album is Walkabeat's debut album, and currently the only one, too. The project has also taken part on Rabbit Ilsn Records' compilation and on 1234567890's remix-compilation.
The songs are formed by looping the source samples to form some kind of a rhythm or a beat, and layering them on top of each other. These sound sources vary from clapping, screeching, speaking, walking and crowds to various machinery-sounds, which means that the album holds a good deal of variation. The sounds are overall fleshy and have character, but also have a hint of lo-fi due to the recording equipment; luckily this only makes the album sound more unified.
The compositions are simplistic, as they mostly consist of loops placed on top of each other, along with some longer samples that have been broken to create a rhythm. Most of the songs rely in these catchy rhythms that hold a good amount of appeal due to their origin, but there are some almost purely ambient-tunes as well; the five-minuter "Teh" as well as the eight minutes long "Das" rely solely on layers of minimalistic industrial machinery-ambience, and thus create a good contrast to the more structured and beat-oriented songs. These songs aren't too interesting on an individual level, though, which brings me to the album's downsides.
The songs are pleasing, but it seems that the artist wasn't entirely sure on what he's aiming for. The sound sources are interesting, the beats and rhythms are good, but the songs lack the final something that would give them more power, personality and content. The songs don't deliver enough feeling, and are too easy to be regarded as background music due to their more or less passive nature. They would need more personality and goal-oriented structure, and I feel the artist settled for too little.
I hope we'll be hearing more from Walkabeat, as I really like the artist's concept and approach. He just needs to further refine the compositions. The visual side could be better, too, but luckily the minimalistic approach shows in the CD-R's price tag.