EP REVIEW: i can’t go outside by Channel Tres

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WRITTEN BY: John Peterson

“Do you f*ck with me or not?” asks California-based producer/songwriter Channel Tres. On his new EP, i can’t go outside, Tres expands his sound and his influence, continuing his upward path of recognition and admiration. Since he started releasing house music from his bedroom in 2018, Tres has amassed quite a following. Frequently collaborating with and remixing other artists, he’s managed to build up a name and brand. Tracks like “Topdown” and “Black Moses” (feat. JPEGMAFIA) established his unique style, accenting his distinctive bass voice and offering sounds that rest somewhere in between house and hip hop.

Released on Thursday, December 10th, Tres’ new EP opens appropriately with a lighter and a big drag of… well, probably weed. Arriving just a few months after his eccentric single, “Weedman,” i can’t go outside cements Channel Tres as the new “king of cool.” Rarely seen without his signature shades, Tres radiates positive energy. Growing up in Compton, he says he was at risk of falling through the cracks. Like many others, Tres finds solace and healing through music, and makes sure to communicate his joy through dance. For Tres, the personal and intimate become the means for outward expression, making his brand of dance music one of the most emotionally layered out there. 

All that being said, however, there’s no detracting from the pure magnetic pull of his music. Unlike most hard-hitting house, Tres’ work doesn’t slap you in the face and knock you onto your feet. Instead, it relaxes itself into a groove so infectious that you can’t help but begin to move with it. The dynamic ebb and flow on tracks like “skate depot” seeps into your body and spills outward. With an accompanying music video, this contagious ode to roller skating serves as a perfect entry point to Tres’ laid back West Coast sound.

Opting for the chill side of house music, Channel Tres gives his songs time to breathe and grow, evolving while never taking you out of the moment. After Tres reimagined Tyler the Creator’s hit song “Earthquake” in a dance remix, Tyler returned the favor, hopping on the track “fuego.” On this song, both artists are in peak form, trading verses and competing for the music industry’s deepest voice. Although known for his smooth baritone, with tracks like “take your time,” Tres succeeds in showing off his singing chops, delivering raspy and suave hooks. The sharp contrast of his own voice with his guest star, Tinashe, breathes new life into this song, making it one of the most engaging on the EP. The natural piano, thumping bass drum, and somber lyrics (“When I get too high, I feel low”) exhibit Tres’ reflective side while staying true to his house roots.

Bathed in the isolation of quarantine, Channel Tres has released a delightful EP with i can’t go outside. The weed-smoking, shades-wearing, dancing icon continues to use music to offer healing and movement, reinventing house with heavy hip hop and West Coast influences. With big names helping him along the way, Channel Tres’ career is a promising one. Grab a joint and stay for the ride.

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