Since they started break the internet with their hyperarticulate strain of beat music, DOMi and JD Beck gradually worked their way into the jazz mainstream. Or maybe the mainstream has slid towards them? Either way, there is no doubt that DOMi, the ponytail keyboard savant born Domitille Degalle (in Metz, France) and Beck, the broomhead drum virtuoso (born and raised in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas) are now spinning heads beyond the funhouse perimeter of viral stardom.
“SMiLE” is the lead single from their feature debut as a joint Blue Note and Anderson Paakof, APES*** INC. It’s a strong distillation of the DOMi & JD Beck ethos, which leans towards a technical poise so nonchalant it feels arrogant, and a boyish sassiness that might be offensive if it wasn’t so obviously mischievous. DOMi’s synth melody, with its blippy Nintendo flair, blends seamlessly with Beck’s drums, on the soft end of the pocket, à la J. Dilla. A video for the song – directed by .Paak, who makes an appearance – imagine Mac DeMarco like a profane and cantankerous century-old jazz legend. You’d think Beck and DOMi would approach him with all due irreverence, but what’s on display is a form of love: not a smirk, but a smile.