Enter the Artificial Universe of This Toronto Talent
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Remember those handheld water games in the dentist office from your childhood, where you press a button and shoot multi-colored hoops through water? If there’s any visual counterpart to River Tiber’s music, these toys of yesteryear might just be it.
River Tiber, AKA Tommy Paxton-Beesley, writes songs that induce colorful shapes within your consciousness. His music is utterly aquatic; its sounds ooze and stretch like Laffy Taffy, while the melodies seem to fall apart then come together.
His songs have the effect of transporting you to a dreamscape
His songs have the effect of transporting you to a dreamscape that resides exclusively inside his mind: a dark city where streetlights stand in for starlight and the buzz of a neon sign blends with the whining screech of a police car.
melodies are so enchanting that they grab you by the throat with an invisible hand
In Tiber’s universe, all is artificial; it’s a world of blurry shapes and abstracts, of shadows and smoke, of strobe lights and uncertainty. Yet the melodies are so enchanting that they grab you by the throat with an invisible hand, transporting you to the depths of the musical unknown.
For the third and final installment of 2016’s #STAYLOUD Live Sessions, we’re giving you a first-class ticket to Beesley’s world of intrigue. He’s taking over Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn on December 9, and we’ll be livestreaming the entire show. If you’re impressed by his album, just wait ‘til you hear his intricate pairings of instruments with electronic melodies live.
The production value of his music is laudable, but his songs have serious mental sticking power. Listen to an acoustic set and suddenly it makes sense why you can’t get his tunes out of your head; they’re catchy yet complicated enough to hook you, like a stubborn ex-lover. It’s frightening how fast you lose yourself in his rhymes.
Beesley rarely interviews and when he does, the conversation is sparse
Just as River’s music is malleable, mysterious, so too is his persona. Beesley rarely interviews and when he does, the conversation is sparse. Not to mention, in his music videos, he’s often draped in shadows– a metaphor for his fear of fame?
Speaking of fame, it’s probably time to talk about Toronto’s most notorious artist. That would be Drake, of course. Listen closely to the hip hop star’s “No Tellin” off his album If You’re Reading This Its Too Late and you’ll undoubtedly hear Beesley singing his single “No Talk” in the background. The brief feature shot Beesley out of obscurity into celebritydom — such is the power of Drake, the undisputed god of Toronto’s music scene.
Beesley’s views differ immensely from Drake’s, however. His songs don’t contemplate the musical monarchy and the costs of fame, but the precarious state of growing up entrenched in the frenetic vibrancy of metropolitan life. Beesley depicts Toronto as a smorgasbord of a city, brimming with the creative tension resulting from the collision of disparate ideas, people, architecture and cultures. The city, twisted up in a network of interlocking rivers, is ripe for creation.
A prime example of this? Beesley’s collaboration with Haitian-Canadian producer Kaytranada was born from a mutual love of Brazilian music (check their collab with Pusha T, “Illusions,” here). Their Toronto, twisted up in a network of interlocking rivers, is ripe for creation.
In fact, Beesley’s stage name stems from a river, the Tiber in Italy, which legend says drowned the ancient Roman ruler Tiberis. It’s a startling tale upon which to build one’s music persona, and Beesley has yet to comment on the name’s origin.
The album ends on an apocalyptic note with “Flood,” a song that makes you feel as if you’re drowning
Beesley’s debut album, Indigo, further inflames this mystery of biblical proportions. The first track on the album is “Genesis,” an orchestral composition with garbled vocals and wooshing undertones. It plays like the opening soundtrack to a Mel Gibson movie about Jesus Christ, but in space. The album ends on an apocalyptic note with “Flood,” a song that makes you feel as if you’re drowning in the aquatic acrobatics of his melodies. What remains to be seen: who is being drowned and who is doing the drowning? Is it time for a change of guard on the banks of Toronto?
We don’t have the answer, but we do have River Tiber our Facebook Live Stream, December 9th as we finish off our 2016 Facebook live streaming series #STAYLOUD Sessions. Get familiar with this must know Canadian producer, and make sure you’re front and center for the show. Click the link to set your Facebook reminder to know when we are live!