Dark days need sounds like eu-IV – “you-four,” as in euphoria. The prolific Baltimore-based producer cut his teeth backing rappers, and now his ultra-chilled beat-tape music has an ease and honesty that you’ll feel right in the heart.
“Nobody noticed us… nobody gave a s***. But the bigger we get…”
eu-IV has mostly flown under the radar, but the upload culture that led him to start releasing back in 2011 has seen him continue to feed us a steady stream of spontaneous, poignant releases. This is instrumental hip hop, given a uniquely personal, East-coast touch. I hate to even use the word “chill,” but in a world that has my head spinning, the deep-dragging sounds here are instant anti-anxiety salve. This has all the soul you miss elsewhere, though – amidst the wobbling tape and warm degraded instrumentation, this shuffles and grooves hard:
Take “machine,” out today… time… time…
Last month, you might have missed the longer release Big Boss, which has a gorgeous story that you can hear woven through the tracks. He writes accompanying that one:
My great-grandfather was a repairman in east baltimore and they would call him “Boss”. He was beloved by his community. This really a tribute to my entire bloodline.
These releases sound as though they’re quilted from different artifacts, with each carrying its own story. Unlike so much lo-fi and instrumental hip-hop, there’s space and clarity; nothing is hidden – it’s more like the noise has its own importance. The mixing is compositional and the compositional builds the mix.
blue from October sounds even more gorgeously unstable, like hip-hop reconstructed from tapes that got in a flood. It has urgency, too, like on the hyperactive, asymmetrical “pop.”
I expect 100% of the people who read this site have stumbled when someone asks you what you do, and you mumble, musician, producer, electronic… musician. I like eu-IV’s full self-description, listed on X as “a digital audio workstation operator (aka beatmaker), illustrator, driver, thinker, family soldier, community artist etc.” That seems something to strive for.
But these productions are essential, for their narrative power and the dense rhythmic language of their assembly. You can dig a lot further back than October, which I recommend.
I totally don’t remember how or when I found eu-IV’s music, but that sums up the feeling of it, so it suits. His X account is also a kind of media art, an archaeology, and literally while I was writing this he was uploading… something. (We probably chatted at some point, so hello.)
And sometimes you get stuff like this.
eu-IV spoke to Reverb back in 2021 about his approach (somehow I didn’t read this until today):
It all began with a cracked copy of FL Studio “Fruity Loops” from his older brother, and then went through SoundCloud habits and constant production, plus influence from experimental instrumentalism.
His approach to production, he told Reverb:
“When I open Ableton [his preferred DAW] I usually start working on drums first then go through my samples/vinyl. Or I’ll play some keys/basslines then maybe process it all. I have a routine but that’s subject to change depending on how I’m feeling that day. I basically try different things until my ears like it, then build on that.”
Sadly, that article reads as a kind of elegy to SoundCloud’s heyday, before multiple pivots through chaotic monetization and promotion. At least Bandcamp still works – for now. It’s a simultaneous reminder that we need to build something new, maybe this time not for the investors, but for the eu-IVs – for each other. For a reason to keep producing and uploading, and a place to do it. And, importantly, for listening.
And if you miss that old community vibe, eu-IV’s “platform for shares” account feels like old-school Tumblr: