A product of Guelph, Ontario, Elaquent, born Sona Elango, has been a pivotal figure in beats music for more than a decade, emphasizing the genre’s varied influences and pushing it into new, previously unthinkable spaces. The Canadian artist found hip-hop culture through his teenage years, and after trying his hand at rap, he gravitated towards production, teaching himself to make beats in his own bedroom. Shaping his style were the sounds of great producers like J Dilla and DJ Premier.

In time, Elango began uploading his sounds to MySpace, and MCs began to tap him up for beats, requesting edits. Instead, Elango opted to go solo, unleashing his own brand of deftly textured production and intimate sounding instrumentals. His sprawling catalog now includes dozens of projects and countless remixes, and much of it is instantly recognisable for its super-melodic and silky smooth, jazzy sound. Forever Is A Pretty Long Time, Elango’s latest album, came out in February, pairing a handful of formidable MCs with his regular, off-kilter beat environments.

In the midst of lockdown, Elango offered to compile a mix of the music that has helped him through this difficult period. He’s interwoven them with some older tracks, and he’s selected them on the fly, which is to say he had to decide on the next track while the current track is still playing. The result is 65 minutes of lo-fi, vibey beats from labels like Brainfeeder, Stones Throw, and Mello Music Group, plus some unreleased stuff fresh from Elango and his friends’ studios.

01. What have you been up to recently?

Not a whole lot. Mostly just been trying to keep to myself and plan my next moves, which is a little difficult without knowing exactly what will happen with the Covid-19 situation here in Canada.

02. How has your lockdown been?

It’s been a mixed bag. I was very much fine with it at the beginning, as I was really burned out and welcomed the extra time at home to catch up on Netflix movies and video games, yet lockdown has me yearning for real human interaction again. It’s been equal parts productive and maddening.

03. What music have you been listening to during lockdown?

Lately, a lot of Stones Throw stuff, but mostly stuff made by my good friends. Much of it can be found in this mix.

04. Where and when did you record this mix?

Put this together last week in my bedroom. Not many other places I could have recorded it.

05. What was your thinking behind it?

Mostly a collection of songs I’ve been playing a lot lately to get inspired to as well as treat my general anxiety, plus a sampling of some of my recent works. A collection of new and old songs.

06. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you included?

That’s the fun part, I had to decide the next song while the current song was playing. However a lot of them happened to be in my “most recently played” folder.

07. How does it compare to what we would hear you play in a club?

Not a big difference, I’ve always been the guy who likes playing vibey unconventional stuff instead of trap. This is definitely more for getting errands done around the house.

08. What’s next on the horizon?

That remains to be seen. I really want to travel but it’s not looking like that will happen until next year at the earliest. I guess I’ll be experimenting in the lab and figuring out what next project I want to undertake.

XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

Tracklisting

01. Ivan Ave “Also” (Jakarta Records)
02. Rejoicer “Purple T shirts” (ft. Mndsgsn) (Stones Throw)
03. Thundercat “Dragonball Durag” (Brainfeeder)
04. Knxwledge “Theykome&go” (Stones Throw)
05. Elaquent “Annoyed” (Mello Music Group)
06. Roc Marciano “Richard Gear” (Marci Enterprises)
07. Earl Sweatshirt “The Bends” (Tan Cressida/Colombia)
08. Nappyhigh “Time” (ft. Iman Omari & Devin Morrison) (Crazy House)
09. Cavalier “Bokeem” (Vibe Music Collective)
10. Wiardon “2002” (Self-Release)
11. Juicy the Emissary “Attention K Mart Choppers A4” (Street Corner Music)
12. Suff Daddy “Raining Down” (ft. Illa J) (Jakarta Records)
13. Elaquent “São Paulo” (Urbnet)
14. Elaquent “Valhalla” (Mello Music Group)
15. Intuition “Al Bundy” (Hellfyre Club)
16. Dibia$e “94 @ Unity” (Self-Release)
17. Little Brother “Black Magic” (Imagine Nation Music)
18. Knxwledge “Do You” (Stones Throw)
19. OC “Evaridae” (ft. Pharaohe Monch)
20. K, Le Maestro & Riian Taquel “Solitude” (Self-Release)
21. Bahwee x esta x Mike Gao “Lounge Burger” (self-release)
22. Elaquent “guidelines” (ft oddisee) (Mello Music)
23. Cavalier “Holla Kid” (Vibe Music Collective)
24. Westside Gunn “Mr T” (Griselda)
25. Mach Hommy “Mozambique Drill” ft. Tha God Fahim (Self-release)
26. Samiyam “Animals Have Feelings” (Stones Throw)
27. Ivan Ave “Dooble’s Shout Outs” (Mutual Intentions)
28. Kallitechnis “Come Up” (Elaquent Remix) (Self-release)