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Album Review: Harbor by Tomppabeats

By | Published November 28, 2017

Tomppabeats, a.k.a. DJ Casshiss, a.k.a. Tomppaisnothere, and with his real name being Tomi Lahtinen, is a member of a niche genre of music in lofi hip-hop. Born 1997, the producer from Helsinki, Finland became popular and noticed around 2014. The name ‘Tomppabeats’ was used around 2013 with inspiration from notable artists such as Nujabes, J Dilla, Madlib and Flying Lotus.

This is a genre that doesn’t have a lot of recognition, perhaps because of the simplicity of a lot of songs in the genre. Commonly there will be an audio sample mixed in with a relaxing hip-hop-esque beat in the background. Tomppabeats however, in my opinion, makes some of the best songs in the genre, with his album Harbor being a good staple of what the lofi hip-hop has to offer. This kind of music I find perfect for relaxing and as background music whilst you’re doing other tasks, perhaps revising or relaxing. In that situation it can feel like all the songs start to blend into one another which isn’t always a bad thing. One thing you’ll notice about the album, and in general the genre as well, is the length of the songs; it’s not common for a song to last more than 1:30 on average. Perhaps it’s a case of quality of quantity. For me however, it seems more that you are listening to glimpse of an emotion or a vibe that would be watered down if extended to more common lengths. I enjoy the simplistic nature of this genre as it all feels experimental, the producer is doing what they want and there’s no publisher to please due to the bootleg nature and feel of it all.

Harbor has 38 songs, which may sound like a lot but as mentioned before they are typically very short. Indeed, those 38 songs sum to only 34 minutes of listening time. Reviewing this album I find it hard to talk about one song in particular, I think due to the simplistic nature there isn’t a song that stands out. However one song, Lonely but not when you hold me, does in my opinion make a statement about the album as whole, painting a picture of this melancholy romantic feeling that really sets the tone of Harbor whice is present throughout. This feeling is amplified with the choice of samples from films, for example at the start of Will you stay here with me, there is a sample from the film “Her” (a great film that is romantic in nature but also interesting conceptually, I recommend it a lot).

I’d highly recommend trying some lofi hip-hop, and this album in particular – stick Harbor on as background music and enjoy 34 minutes of the sultry beats.