Arts and Culture

Broke for Free Is Your Rainy Day Chillwave

Or your acoustic hop, or whatever. It'll warm you either way.

By Thom Wong 1 Nov 2012 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He can also be found ruminating about the state of menswear at The Sunday Best.

Tom Cascino is a busy man. He's a painter and a graphic artist and patterned face-r, and when he's not doing any of those things he makes music as Broke for Free, a fairly apt name as his music is very free. Although hopefully this isn't making him broke.

According to SoundCloud's categories, Broke for Free makes chillwave and acoustic hop, which I guess means instrumental hip hop with peculiar instruments, but mostly it sounds completely made up. If his music was enjoyed by running a comb over the dents in a poured concrete floor I'd maybe go with acoustic hop, but as it seems to only require ears and a set of speakers, I'll gladly call it instrumental pop music.

In trading Vancouver for London I've exchanged one wet city with consistently grey skies for another wet city with consistently grey, colder skies, so much colder that Canada seems a fond, tropical memory. It is seriously cold over here, mostly because even the new buildings would pass for historical status across the ocean, and not a one has heard of double-paned glass or insulation. In this climate one needs music that warms the heart without the complication of anything as taxing as lyrics.

Thankfully in his latest release, Broke for Free offers just that. The Gold Lining is five minutes of pure, infectious ear candy that was made for misty days indoors. It's sound is the optimistic promise of warmer times ahead, or in London's case, of a lot of cheap alcohol. Either way, The Gold Lining dispenses with the frivolities of a verse or chorus and chillwaves its way directly to mellow grooveland, coasting along on a single, persistent beat while waves of thickly plucked guitar float in and out of the frame. 

When a voice does break in around the three minute mark you can't understand a damn thing it's saying, and eventually the drums make it just another instrument, as if to say, hey, don't think so hard -- we're all in this together. And Vancouver and London, we are so in this together. It's the first of November. It's wet and it's cold. But there's always a gold lining.   [Tyee]

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