Tender Grasp EP (2018) #1 – Sifot Review

The Tender Grasp EP is here, so let’s check it out. For those who don’t know, their track “Can’t Wait” was featured in the last post. This is my first review in a loooooong time… probably since the ones I did on Infektion Magazine. Yes… a metal magazine. Anyway, I’ll try to make this in a methodical way (would this be my academic heritage?). Once the project is only five tracks I find it is cool to go one by one.

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Original art by Francisco San Payo

What you need to know first is that Tender Grasp is a portuguese Future Funk duo from Lisbon, Iminente and Combo Capsule. I’m not going to explain what FF is, primarily because I did it in the previous post, and secondly due to my lack of confidence in explain it further than that. I’m learning ok? But music is music, so let’s take a look to this new EP.

Structure wise you get five tracks in the following order:

1) Online Crush

I find that this opening track was the best to fit the place. I know Portugal is still facing winter, but as I’m in Brazil, this speaks summer all over the place. The song is uplifting due to its tempo, vibrant brass and bass lines, and makes you want to dance… or if you’re like me, just shake your head back and forward. It’s cool to see little variations and details on the samples along the track, which are probably Iminente’s hip-hop background mischief. I just realized that this is probably a good motivation song for workout… but because I don’t do that shit I’ll wait for others to endorse that point.


2) Can’t Wait

There is no point in making this long, once I talked about “Can’t Wait” in my last post. Thus, I consider this more of a night life track, with slower tempo than “Online Crush” but still a danceable vibe. We have, again, great bass line, atmosphere and sample trick-lining.

3) Right on Time

Let me brag a bit about “timing”, once Sifot got previous access to the EP… I’m listening to it continuously. Moving on, this track is the one I liked the least. I recognized the potencial in the idea, with all those breaks and stuff but, what could have been great, and I mean the constant changes which create several different sections on the same song, was just ok and not that inspiring. I also feel that, although all seems in place, there is a lack of harmony between the samples used and the beat. Some of those look a bit thrown into the multitrack to fill in. All and all its a decent track, but not as striking as the others on the project.

4) Megane (featuring Lé Real)

combo capsule
Combo Capsule

For me this is their most radio track… What before were details of Iminente’s background on hip-hop is now a more notable choice on the sample cuts and bass line pattern. The rapper Lé Real entered in the flow of Combo Capsule’s beat that brings you back to that FF feel. This could be Tender Grasp’ signature, mixing both producers backgrounds regularly to create something with a stronger identity and, at the same time, less generic.

5) Joy

Maaannn, this is my favorite by far! First, the structure… This song is almost divided in three. The first part goes until around the minute mark, giving you a solid work in similarity of what was done in tracks as “Online Crush” or “Can’t wait”. Then it migrates to a more breakbeat feel with awweeesome use of the samples. You get a sort of bridge/chorus and then, around the 1:50 mark, a new variant of the track appears. Now more obscure with minimalist drums and post effects on the samples. Fucking love it! The downside of this song is not being twice as long, but hey… there’s always the repeat mode. It works for me.

Other stuff…

For what I heard of this genre, Tender Grasp has enough to make something great. It doesn’t run away from the genre but it doesn’t stay still either. In just five songs they’ve made familiar FF but also mixed things up. The quality is there. On the other hand, I would say that tracks as “Online Crush” and “Megane” ended a bit on the uninspired side. There were better options than a simple fade out, specially in the latter. But these points are totally minor.

Grade: Go listen to “Joy” in repeat mode!

The whole playlist can be listen for free here:

You can download for free (or by choosing to donate whatever amount you want) on their Bandcamp page. You can also follow Iminente or Combo Capsule individually.