With their first EP Grown? Vancouver trio, Ludic, redefines neo soul with a bright vintage aesthetic that pays homage to modern funk bands like Hiatus Kaioyte, but with an entirely unique sound that drips like honey. Their latest single Brain Food is an effortlessly cool, groovy tune that chronicles the obstacles related to not fitting into the educational mold, while celebrating the EP’s main theme of what it means to grow up.
Much like the definition of its namesake– Ludic meaning spontaneity– the trio was the result of an impromptu jam session between members Ayla Tesler-Mabe, Max Cunningham, and Rhett Cunningham. Musically, Ludic describes their sound as somewhere between ‘soulfunkjazzpop,’ an appropriate label for the band’s chameleon-like ability to transverse a number of genres.
Throughout Brain Food, Ludic draws from colorful production by Ryan Worsley, alongside deliciously sweet lyricism, to produce a shimmering assemblage of new age funk. The melody remains with you well after the song is over, owing its infectious rhythm to a funk guitar that could give Thundercat a run for his money. The sparkling synths, hypnotizing background vocals, and electronic inspirations give the song a modern twist that adds a touch of neo soul to a seemingly pop vibe. In taking a variety of influences, Ludic refuses to conform to one ‘box’ of sound in Brain Food, emphasizing the wayward but exciting feelings that come along with growing up.
Ludic’s debut EP, Grown? represents the beginning of an illustrious career for the trio. With an already stacked list of performances at some of Vancouver’s most notable venues alongside performers such as Brittany Howard, and Catfish & The Bottlemen, Ludic is a psychedelic force to be reckoned with. What really sets the band apart is their flawless musicianship that seems to exude out of its members without the slightest bit of effort. They authentically feel the groove of the rhythm, and whatever happens next is assured to make you feel it as well.
Brain Food demonstrates the undeniable musical chemistry between Ayla, Max, and Rhett, while still allowing each musician’s personality to melt through the surface. Their sound may incorporate elements of funk, or soul, but they also appear as the living embodiment of groove. In Grown? Ludic has produced something entirely rare that signifies their undeniably cool presence in the industry.
By Cassidy Copenheaver