Producer and composer Josh Grant mixes hip-hop, electronic, house, and funk elements for kaleidoscopic results.
I hate answering the phone. The abrasive sound of my phone ringing makes my heart beat out of my chest and I immediately think that the worst case scenario has happened because why else would somebody call me in the Year of our Lord 2019?
Why’d You Even Call, a recent release by Toronto producer and composer Josh Grant who mixes hip-hop, electronic, house, and funk elements for kaleidoscopic results, centres on phone calls and the unease they can bring. Throughout the album, we repeatedly hear the long anxious tones of a ringing telephone until, finally, at the end of the record, someone leaves a message: it’s from a young person, or perhaps Grant has morphed the voice to sound childish, who absolutely rips Grant apart. It’s a brutal take down (“your music is wack, you don’t even got the juice, your breath stinks…stupid beats…play something else,” the voice taunts) but the specificity of these disses makes for a hilarious moment.
The anxiety that’s tied to the phone is heard right from the start of the album care of “Overture,” a menacing piece of music that wouldn’t sound out of place in a horror movie. Later, the clicking beat of “When You” sounds like fingers tapping in nervous anticipation. But despite that, Grant, overall, conjures a chill atmosphere on Why’d You Even Call. From its name alone, “NAH” emits a casual attitude and its soundscape emphasizes it. Grant employs soft and silky tones as his backdrop as plump bass notes and a sharp buzzy synth melody eventually strut by. “Drop,” the funkiest track on the record, also has a swagger, with Grant’s playful beats moving cooly and with contagious confidence.
As of late, my most frequent caller is a stern robotic voice telling me that a warrant has been made for my arrest and advising me to contact a lawyer. But a scammy robot isn’t as bad as somebody calling to point out my flaws like in Grant’s case. Nevertheless, I’d like to think that with these dynamic and fun instrumentals, Grant is telling us that we should meet life’s anxieties and nervous moments with a little more lightheartedness; that there’s still a chance that something good is on the other end of a ringing phone. So pick up.