Claude VonStroke is a producer that despite releasing now six albums over his career (two as Barclay Crenshaw), the album artist label has never stuck with him. He is so closely aligned with the blossoming Dirtybird brand, that often his own music takes a backseat to DJ sets, Dirtybird parties and the genre-defining label he heads up. However, dipping back into them can be a good way of seeing the trends of Dirtybird and house music in general over the past 15 years.
His first LP in 2006, Beware Of The Bird leaned heavily on the animalistic nature of dance music. It was heavily indebted to the bleeps and bloops of Dutch house, one of the biggest sounds in the world at the time. Going through his next albums, it starts to drill down into the powerful house music that blends heavy grooves, some g-funk and playful fx, which have had a growing influence on the genre at large.
This all comes to today, where Claude has released his first Claude VonStroke album in seven years, aptly titled Freaks & Beaks.
The album gets underway in earnest with the the clubby and up-tempo “Freaks Don’t Fail me Now.” We get more of this quirky dancefloor energy as the album progresses to tracks like “Waddaday” featuring ZDS with a repetitive vocal that will find its way deep in your brain. VonStroke & Dirtybird seem to be the king of these nonsensical, but addictive vocal motifs. It ends with “Birthday Messages" that is similar to some hip-hop album outros of the mid 2000’s like on Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, which felt like a celebration of the artist and their album.
His upbeat, jacking, dancefloor-minded productions don’t always lend themselves to the contemplative nature that if often required of an album. The tracks are less easily woven into the complete and connected thought that comes with an album. Despite this, the album still feels pretty cohesive for the material he is working with. Some of the songs are a little mellower and deeper like “Youngblood” or the brooding “Session A,” but often it is big, heavy house music for a DJ set.
The Dirtybird captain delivers an album that will serve its ultimate purpose of providing him with more music to play out live. Freaks & Beaks does well to act as its own DJ set at nearly an hour long with some highlights along the way. Get ready for another huge year for Dirtybird as they celebrate 15 years and more events than ever. This album helps kick all of that off.
Stream Freaks & Beaks below and get your copy here.