Since 2008, SoCal DJ/Producer Freddie Joachim has invaded our eardrums with laid-back, jazzy grooves, largely instrumental affairs meant to soothe us and keep our heads and necks nodding in perfect rhythm. After two years since his last release, Midway (2010), Freddie hits us with his latest release, Fiberglass Kisses (2012), which marks his fourth studio release. Whereas previous works, with the exception of In With Time (2008), have been instrumental albums with no help from vocalists or rappers, Freddie’s newest work utilizes the voices of some of soul’s best to bring his grooves to life.
While In With Time was primarily a hip-hop/soul record littered with rappers and singers from all over, Fiberglass Kisses finds Freddie utilizing a new approach, where the focus is on neither the vocalists or the production. Rather, what you find is a well-rounded collection of alternating vocal and instrumental tracks with an overriding theme of love, whether it is love on a personal level or Freddie’s love for hip-hop, soul, and jazz.
For the vocal tracks, Freddie employs some of soul’s unnoticed best, such as Carlitta Durand, L. Santiago, and Miles Bonny, to breathe life into his jazzy collection of instrumentals. The lead single of the album, “Keep Lovin’” is powered by Carlitta Durand’s soulful voice as she sings to an unknown lover to “keep on lovin’” her, describing the many ways her lover is absolutely brilliant. The production is very loose and warm, like summer in the winter, utilizing layers of synth effects over fast-tempo beat pattern. Another standout track is Miles Bonny’s “To Remind Us”, which is more jazzy in the samples it uses as a backup to Bonny’s voice. Here, Miles sings to a lover asking “why can’t we get along” and what he could do to start things anew. The horn sample Freddie uses hear acts as an echo to Miles’ singing, which is nice touch and adds another layer to the song.
In terms of the instrumental tracks, what you find is the standard fare from Freddie: hard-hitting snares and smooth jazz and soul-infused samples. The tracks are perfect for those grey, rainy days where one would rather just sit in the house and mellow out. Freddie does nothing new here but he maintains the same level of production we have grown to expect from him. Each track is it’s own little story, whether there are singers to sing over them or the instrumentals are allowed to do their talking through beats. The atmosphere presented is very moody and mellow. For a Seattleite (Am I allowed to call myself one after living here for 5 months?), this type of music goes perfectly with the constant drizzle and grey skies of the Pacific Northwest.
Freddie Joachim presents us with another solid banger in Fiberglass Kisses. Enlisting a great lineup of singers and maintaining the high level of consistency we’ve come to expect from him, Freddie has given us another collection of head-nodding grooves to throw in the player and mellow out to.