GEE-O ‘From The Concrete’ (Self-released) 4/5

‘From The Concrete’ is the new project from Miami-based producer, beat maker and DJ, Gee-O.

From his first release – aptly entitled ‘First’ and released back in 2006 – Giovanni Ocasio delivered the first of what would become an extended series of releases over the course of the next fourteen years. While ‘First’ presented a ten-track compilation of Ocasio demonstrating his remixing chops for the likes of Jay-Z, Nas and Lupe Fiasco, everything since has served to reinvent the project that came before it.

Hip-hop may well have been the genre that helped to establish the name “Gee-O” and helped to channel his creativity the best – having become renowned for his instrumental, beats style releases – subsequent projects have seen his incredible talents demonstrated through compositions inspired by house and dance music (‘Sexy’, 2019), electro and trap music (‘The Experiment’, 2017) and even Japanese anime (‘Manga Dreams’, 2018). There’s the ambitious Beatles mash-up project (‘Gee-O vs The Beatles: Mash-Up Fields’, 2014) and the genuinely inspirational scope of ‘At Night’ which, over the course of the album’s sixteen tracks, charts a different time of night from 7pm to 6am the next morning. Genuinely, Gee-O’s Bandcamp page is a wormhole of creativity and a love letter to the art of music making.

Even exploring projects beyond the above, Ocasio’s production on the self-titled EP release by Nadège Nightingale further demonstrate his abilities this time within the R&B and pop realms – evidenced through the infectious energy of ‘Note 2 Self’ and its accompanying Dancehall Remix.

‘From The Concrete’ brings everything back to the start with an eighteen track selection of instrumental hip-hop numbers that pull from a variety of inspirations and musical styles. ‘Life’ sees Ocasio again tipping his hat to those alternative dance aesthetics while ‘Baby’ presents a nice contrast with a more traditional soul sample providing the backbone of one of the project’s strongest numbers. ‘Times Are Changing’ absolutely warrants special mention however as its effortless marrying of jazz and hip-hop will garner repeated listens.

‘From The Concrete’ is a really excellent project – presenting not only an excellent showcase of Ocasio’s talent and skill, but also a really fitting portrait of an artist continually looking to push through boundaries and to challenge himself to deliver something new with each project he throws himself into.

Imran Mirza