Orlando's Chris Mendez has gradually been making the creative slide from the turntables as DJ Cub over to the production chair as TranQilo, and the first peek at his production work came early this year on the excellent debut release by promising young local artist Jazzy Soto. That glimpse was particularly noteworthy because Mendez's thumbprint was all over the EP, most notably "Take Control," the record's hottest track and one of the best songs to come out of Orlando this year.
Now, with this weekend's release of Hot Days//Cold Nights, the Grand Collab boss will officially and fully step out as a producer. Befitting the refined aesthetic that Mendez has long championed, this debut is a model of tasteful restraint.
TranQilo's maiden solo voyage is eight urbane tracks that merge clean house music, jazz hooks and distilled soul. The opening Hot Days half packs bright lounge jams lined with svelte and slinky horns, while the Cold Nights side is an after-hours dive into nocturnal minimalism. Taken together, it's some of the most elegant downtempo music to come out of Orlando in a while.
Hot Days//Cold Nights will drop on Bandcamp Sunday, Dec. 5, and all other major platforms shortly thereafter. A free release party will also go down that day at Grape and the Grain. The Grand Collab-powered outdoor live event will also feature performances by Eugene Snowden, Abbott & Brown, DJ Rome and Bonita & the Bear.
Tinnitus Rex are an Orlando band that bill themselves as an "improv noise jam collective." Those leery of musical terms like "noise" (not me) or "jam" (so me) need not fear, though. They're neither as freeform as true noise artists nor as wanky as traditional jam bands. A relief, probably, to a good swath of the listening public.
Unlike their usual single releases, Tinnitus Rex's latest, Road to Ruin, is a sprawling collection of five voyages that spans nearly an hour. Though they're an extempore act, you don't need to be versed in free music to access Tinnitus Rex's realm. As this latest suite shows, their expeditions survey the rock outlands with legibility, heft and atmosphere. Road to Ruin is up now on Bandcamp.