I’ve said it before – I love hearing new music from my town of Portland. So hearing the latest from Portland beatmaker Roane Namuh (pronounced rōne nAW-moo) latest was a real pleasure. Luvbalm is a collection of loops, edits and beats all produced by Roane himself. It’s also a proper mixtape in every sense, a two-sided affair with a cohesive flow and rhythm.
Rooted in hip-hop, Luvbalm is much more than a “beat tape;” it’s a real journey, covering serious ground and spanning a wide variety of styles. 25 tracks in total, all titled in Roman numerals, the album starts off chill enough. “III” features a similar (the same?) drum loop to Outkast’s “Elevators” laid underneath gliding, dramatic synth lines and a sensuous lyric sample, while “IV” delves into cosmic/spiritual jazz territory. “V” sees the tape transition into ‘90s R&B territory, sampling A Tribe Called Quest’s “Bonita Applebum” to brilliant effect.
Later tracks find Roane dipping into boogie (“XI”), disco (“XII”), Detroit house (“XVIII”) and much more. In the end, Luvbalm is the ultimate summer mixtape, an album primed for backyard barbecues and sunny afternoons. The overall vibe is joyful and uplifting, an antidote to the dark days of the past that makes you hopeful for things to come.