The crisp rattle of the hi-hats as the snap of the snare creates a contrast within the otherworldly warping synths and background elements that are littered throughout Sporting Life’s diverse production. The man of a thousand-plus sounds checks in with his 2015 release 55 5’s which was best known for the way it could slap through the barriers and make its way to center court.
The long deserving and rising producer straight from Canal Streets underbelly, Sporting Life is the physical and mental embodiment of a championship pick-up game in the summer heat. From the blaring bass that hits and shakes like rebounds to the use of vocal samples that act as scattered voices in the night, Sporting Life has a sense of originality behind his direction. Through the Roland – SP-555 that is the cover’s spotlight, the instrument alone strikes fear into the hearts of the unworthy.
He opens 55 5’s with “Aloha”, a simple, but layered release that takes the listener by the hand and progresses them through a mind-crushing gauntlet of abstract sounds that push paint to the canvas. As Sporting Life works through the detail, acting as a work-horse that is stationed only to produce beats; the images of vivid and lush New York cityscapes flood the mind.
“Badd” which is one of the heavyweights of 55 5’s is an anthem that suddenly transports directly to the busy streets and hustle where more than just business is being handled. Sporting Life can manipulate these diagrams that flash brightly without having a visual attached, as “Badd” relies on the angelic vocal samples, the spoil comes from the frantic percussion that acts as an overlay to some sense of justice and perseverance. If the 4 train travels along Lexington Avenue, then Sporting Life is the entire city subway center diagram that maps out and has a plan for everything on that train ride.
As the machines whirl and create wonder beyond what is the auditory style, Sporting Life sculpts gentle waves on the following track “The Sopranos” that feels as if it was a send-off into the murky and rain-filled days of Coney Island’s beaches. As the tide grows and the light begins to fade, Sporting Life takes the draining moments as a time of remembrance and reflection.
The entirely instrumental album has enough lane switches and directional patterns to keep the listener engaged through the 10 total tracks. Some of his most fond and shining pieces reign through on 55 5’s as Sporting Life disappears among the crowd of people back into the sprawling and overdeveloped cityscape.