Yesterday, on his Beats 1 show, Zane Lowe premiered a big
new twist on a somewhat dated and unknown production. Jim E-Stack, a Brooklyn-based electronic and hip-hop influenced producer, released his solo single "Deadstream" back in February. The version that played on Lowe's show yesterday was quite different, titled the "Rostam Version," and featured vocals from Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend) and Charli XCX.
The production features a spacey vibe built on background synths and continuously cut through by aggressive, almost spastic percussion. Stack created a danceable groove with "Deadstream," but the beauty really lies in the vocals from Rostam and Charli. The two voices, both drunk on distortion, lament the volatile emotions of a breakup. "It's not over when you say it's over," they sing, "it's over when we can both see each other again, as friends, and I don't know when..." That ambiguity, living in the space in between love and friendship, taints the duet with sadness and resignation. The vocals do seem to put a damper on Jim-E Stack's retro-dance vibe, but provide an interesting contrast in the process. Stack, who referred to Rostam and Charli as 'big bro' and 'big sis' in social media posts, seems to have the connections to make a name for himself with productions like these. Here's his tweet plugging the new version:
Rostam and Charli previously worked together on "Need Ur Luv" from Charli's 2014 album Sucker
. Ms. XCX is in the midst of a comeback in 2016, with "After the Afterparty" serving as the first single from her upcoming third studio effort. And Rostam is having what may be the biggest year of his career production-wise, gaining credits on recent releases from Santigold, Frank Ocean, and Solange. He notably departed from indie favorites Vampire Weekend in early 2016. Hopefully he and Charli continue on the path towards more interesting collaborations with both known and unknown artists. Listen to "Deadstream (Rostam Version) above. If you have Apple Music, you can check out the song as well as a conversation between Zane Lowe and Jim-E Stack here