Dublin-based producer and instrumentalist Sal Dulu makes calm, expansive beats that swim with the cinematic possibilities of the night-time. Xompulse is his debut album, and comprises a subtly enticing collection of tracks that marry everything from boom-bap, classical, jazz, ambient, warm licks of soul samples and glossy shades of 90s downtempo. There’s more than an occasional nod to celestial, Porcelain-era Moby and lush Madlib stylings.
Thematically, Dulu has said the record explores the liminal space between reality and dreams, with each of the 10 tracks serving as individual memories within this dreamscape. There is certainly a slow-burning, woozy quality that slips and slides gently from track to track, though slick features from rappers Fly Anakin, Koncept Jack$on and staHHr all cut through, lest things get too soporific (a couple more of these would have been welcome). Still, simple moments are rendered beautiful by Dulu’s arrangements: the quiet ebb and flow of the piano-led title track; the careening strings on Alien Boy 96; the soft sax on Just Like Sonnenalle Blues; the wobbling synth on I Kan. Twinkling and soothing, Xompulse is a pleasant reverie to sink into.