The Stuyvesants are a production collective comprised of two creative innovators from Brooklyn, NY. Allen Cole and Darien Birks are two long time friends who started the Stuyvesant project one productive Friday night after work. Allan Cole is a Brooklyn based Designer, Web Developer, and Beat-Maker who works for the software giant, Automattic. While Darien Birks is an Illustrator and Soundscaper based in Portland, Oregon as well a Senior Designer for Nike. The Stuyvesants take their name from the historic Afro-American neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn- the famed home of The Notorious B.I.G, Shirley Chisholm, and Spike Lee’s seminal classic “Do the Right thing”.
Since their debut album Brooklyn’s Finest, (2010) The Stuyvesants have scored the feel of a neighborhood that, for over 80 years, has been a melting pot of Afro-descendant cultures and ethnicities. On July 1, 2017 The Stuyvesants released Finally, their newest album since FINE in 2014. The Bed-Stuy duo once again fails to disappoint with their most recent interpretation of the Stuyvesant perspective. The drum patterns and sample choice’s on the Finally project express the trademark theme of the Stuyvesants Catalog by being educated, soulful, and doused in creativity.
The album in its entirety is incredibly smooth and great for a summer cruise session. That being said, there are some stand out tracks that catch your attention and shine brightest. Track 5 entitled On Second Thought, the Stuyvesants sample Craig T Cooper and the incomparable Gerald Levert’s “Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop Goes My Mind”. The creative duo chop up the sexy smooth original, add a moderate amount of instrumental ingredients, and the result is an arrangement that could only be the handiwork of master beatsmiths.
Just as impressive is Track 12 entitled Pluck the Strings, which is a smooth funky sample of “Let Me inside” by Mica Paris, which is an amazing track from one of the most artistic women I had never heard of before. One of the most rewarding parts of sample-based production is discovering the spark that inspired the track you are listening to. This allows you to share a thought with the creator, as well as imagine what was going through their head when they picked a particular sound.
While many instrumental albums become timid in their later parts, The Stuyvesants do not fall into the same bad habits. Even towards the end of this album of 30 short, well curated songs, the project stays true to form and plays strongly throughout its entirety. I think this is due to the ability of the music- letting the intros and outros steal the show, and have the audience in anticipation from one track to the next. Track 28 entitled Rev. Savage & the Virtuous Voices pt 1 is a great example of this theory. The intro samples the “Voices of East Harlem’s” Oh Yeah song, which is another obscure piece of artistry whom I had never heard of. Their music has also made it onto my playlist thanks to the Stuyvesants and the Finally album.
With the dog days of summer seeming to not want to come to an end here on the east coast, the Stuyvesants have shown the same staying power on my Itunes. During a time of instability both politically and atmospherically, Finally is a cooling pause as you watch the last bit of the summer heat rise from the blacktop of the city streets. We claim this the perfect soundscape for the modern tech savvy urbanite, and as always- Be cool or be careful.