Redveil: Learn 2 Swim Album Review
The newfound success has him reflecting on his upbringing in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and the rough waters he braved to find himself here. Some of his friends, like those mentioned at the start of “pg baby”, are fellow grinders who work to “never see another fall again”. Others, like the nameless person at the start of the second verse of “the shoulder,” are brief vessels of regret that color Motorola phone screens. These experiences enrich his personal stories, the lessons of each of them pushing him further towards his goal.
This clarity is complemented by a lush suite of rhythms. Learn 2 to swim is completely self-produced, and redveil’s production chops have expanded to match the occasion. Samples, synths and piano are still his musical bread and butter, but the sense of scale in each of these beats is huge. The “new info” and “morphine (daways)” both begin with loops and steady drum programming before opening up to reveal soaring 808s in their final seconds, fleshing out the experience without overwhelming it. The love for melody and chord progressions he inherited from Tyler manifests in thin piano keys that dot almost every song. These chords are the cornerstone of tracks like “diving board” and “better,” descending like a downpour of sunlight against a pink skyline at dusk.
It’s even more impressive when he combines these sounds, like the piano keys simmering under the sampled cymbals on “better” or the trellis of synths, drums and vocal samples that make up the second half of “automatic.” redveil seamlessly weaves together different types of rap production, channeling the orchestral pump of live-band hip-hop, the gooey sample loops of the modern underground, and the synthetic flair of the mainstream into something new. By challenging perceptions of what rap can be, he has created audio dioramas that blend and blend into each other in breathtaking ways.
The duality of Redveil’s production style fits with the takeovers and new beginnings at the heart of its stories across Learn 2 Swim. If you listen closely, you can hear the same sincerity that informed the music of its early influences. But redveil is not a copier. It has Tyler’s and Earl’s respective confidence in black self-expression without the harsh personality and musical contours that defined their early work; he shares Logic’s passion for the craft and the history of rap, minus the real tough schoolings that sap the energy of his personality. Learn 2 to swim is bright and forward-thinking, using embers from redveil’s personal and musical past to fuel its journey to greater heights.