South London producer Paul White’s stock has risen considerably since debuting in 2007 with “The Dragon Fly” single. He’s become a go-to beatsmith for forward-thinking hip-hop artists like Danny Brown and Homeboy Sandman who look to challenge themselves with his meticulously crafted, otherworldly instrumentals. Case in point: He’s all over Brown’s break-out album, XXX, and will appear on his much anticipated follow-up, Old. The Detroit rapper has returned the favor in many ways, like injecting a strong dose of stark reality into White’s Watch the Ants lead single “Street Lights.”
But on the EP’s title track, White’s going it alone and he wanted to capture both the fervor and merriment of the human existence. “It’s supposed to be as intense as life can be,” he says of the anxious instrumental. “[It’s] a smack round the face, but fun too.” That’s an apt description if there ever was one. As the vibrant, diverse percussion crashes and rolls throughout, White layers in synthesizers to hold a steady pulse.
More synths eventually find their way into the mix, bursting with a spaced-out energy reminiscent of one of his heroes. “Bringing the track together was helped by influences by people like (groundbreaking minimalist artist) Moondog,” White explains. It all makes for a primal listening experience that perfectly embodies White’s intent to “remind us to think about life in a conscious life.” Sometimes, life is hectic, but it can be pretty damn enjoyable, too. Embrace the ants in your pants.
Paul White’s Watch the Ants drops July 29 on One-Handed Music. It features Danny Brown, Homeboy Sandman, and others. Stream “Watch the Ants” below: