Initial forays into the sprawling sonic world of Seekersinternational can be both transportive and emotive. Their mutant sound is influenced by a myriad of disparate styles, from the sprawling lineage of Jamaican dub & digi-dancehall forward to the cut-and-paste turntablist compositions of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and back to analog synthesizer experiments that might have once been found floating around the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Sometimes abbreviated to SKRSINTL or simply SKRS, this band of visionaries is cloked in mystery, with its specifics largely unknown apart from the fact that the crew is made up of Filipino immigrants and first-generation Filipino-Canadians. Their music strikes a rare balance: accessible to the casual listener yet meticulously crafted and engaging for those with a discerning ear tuned to the global underground diaspora.
The nature of SKRS’ distinct, yet impossible to truly categorize, style is a prime example of how the digital dissemination of niche music genres can inspire creative new developments within a largely saturated and self-serving environment. The SKRS crew openly acknowledge that the lineage of Jamaican music was an influence on their initial style, but they recognized early on that there was no point in simply mimicking what had come before. SKRS believe that true artistry lies in constructing and skewing ideas into new, exciting directions while applying personal tastes and life experiences to art— making the creative process truly exciting and fulfilling.
The Gyal Circuit single released in 2015, on Boomarm Nation, is a psychedelic blast of cyber-dub abstractions that bends and twists around perfectly pitched samples with a minimal amount of percussion. Grounded by a pulsing synth pad, which wouldn’t sound out of place in any number of Model 500 productions circa Detroit in the late 80’s, “Gyal Circuit” makes for a thrilling introduction to SKRS’ use of space within a tight-knit chamber of carefully concocted elements.
RaggaPreservationSociety, released in 2016 on Diskotopia, is a bombastic love letter to mid-90s jungle and rave culture omnipresent in the UK. The tracks that comprise the EP are just as forward-thinking and crucial as the vintage source material it so clearly respects and reveres. For example, on “Channel2(MurderousDub)” a bouncy, distorted bassline buoys diva vocal stabs with soundclash-ripped boasts before UK hardcore rave pianos and classic breaks enter to segue the arrangement into unexpected terrains. The RaggaPreservationSociety series is quite likely set to continue evolving in the near future with exciting new strains of pressure sounds ripe to explore.
The engulfing narrative approach that SKRS employs to each individual project runs deep through the tones of the music itself as well as into the accompanying artwork and even when considering release formats. Take SKRSINTL meets MX7 inna Dancehall Showdown! released on ICSLibrary Records in 2017, for example. This LP plays like the soundtrack to a sci-fi Spaghetti Western filmed in Kingston: rife with unexpected moments of tension, suspense and reflection. Released on vinyl and digital formats as a “Side A” and “Side B,” this kind of formatting sets up listeners to become entranced by its narrative via the non-stop mix sequencing and rapid-fire delivery of concurrent tracks.
SKRS have also had a long-standing and fruitful relationship with the excellent Bokeh Versions label based in Bristol, UK. The outstanding LoversDedicationStation LP released in 2016 is a nuanced riff of R&B, Jamaican lovers rock and transcendental psychedelic excursions. “IfUWantMe,” a centerpiece of the LP, is a propulsive slice of chopped synth-funk that utilizes its barebones arrangement to optimal emotional effect. The title track from the 2017 RunComeTest EP is yet another striking strain of hydroponically stewed dub-tech in which dueling male-female incantations weave through a refracted synthesizer lead that seems to bring otherworldly, textural scenes and situations to life.
Seekersinternational is a veritable force to be reckoned with, and as they continue to expand their evolving universe, it’s a given fact that the population of those appreciating their work will increase exponentially as well. A brand new LP, several remix projects and a collaborative effort with the mighty poet/lyricist Roger Robinson are all in the pipeline for the coming months, and it’s safe to say we can count on expecting the unexpected with the Seekersinternational phenomenon.