Koushik’s love for 1960s AM radio and his taste for distinctive hip-hop-type beats make for a nice drunken listen. Be With compiles two previously released EPs and the tracks from the Be With twelve-inch EP, which should be released this spring. Confusing? Yes. The Ontario-born experimentalist producer dabbles in Association-sounding melodies (minus the fifty-part harmonies), dreary organ loops and strung-out funk bass lines. He’s particularly strong on the first few tracks, which are from the forthcoming EP. The other, older tracks are portraits of Koushik’s developing tastes and methods rather than full-blown majesties.
Koushik’s earliest work on Be With, the tracks from 2002’s Battle Times seven-inch, come at the end of the compilation. “Battle Rhymes for Battle Times” doesn’t chronicle Koushik in a hooded-sweatshirt-performance on 106 & Park, as the title might suggest. Instead, it’s a late-’60s-sounding romp that Timothy Leary might have subjected his unemployed party guests to. Koushik’s breathy vocals waver over dusty drum breaks and psychedelic funk, and it makes sense that this originally appeared on Kieran Hebden’s own label, Text Records. The tracks from the seven-inch are painfully short. Often the compositions feel unfinished, and only pieces of Koushik’s elaborate vision see daylight, leaving the rest of his mind’s eye to “what could have been.”
The six tracks from the Stones Throw-released One in a Day EP make up the middle of Be With. On them, Koushik travels to the territory of his friend and contemporary Manitoba (now Caribou), mixing laptop stuff with more 1968 nostalgia a la Up in Flames (on which Koushik provided some vocals). It’s some of the best material on the comp. Just as on “Be With,” Koushik’s stoned after-party verses over treated drum loops and thick Wurlitzer tones might have even been solid audition material for Terry Melcher. The hell with Charles Manson; he seemed a little off-center, anyway.