Oak Dreams is the third collaborative release from London-based lyricist Benny Diction and Melbourne producer Able8, following their Spring EP and Life Moves album. The seeds of the project were sown one August, when Benny chose to swap the English summer for the Australian winter and essentially move in with Able for a month.
Between shows, tram rides and copious bowls of laksa, the pair set about putting together their third release. The process was different from previous projects as working in the same physical space facilitated a more direct dialogue between them, allowing Benny to have more input on production.
Although they initially had more fresh recordings, they eventually eschewed quantity for quality to narrow it down to these 6 tunes.
The EP begins with Connected, Benny’s opening bar serving as a concise comment on his climatical exchange at the time: ‘It’s scarves in August, so we warm it up’. This then segues into Round Again, where he delivers a double-time flow over a Wurlitzer-driven trap instrumental, concluding with the closing line: ‘In this short life, I spread love, knowing in due time, it comes round again’.
This is followed by FFWD, where Benny is joined by Perth-based emcee Mathas to analyse the advancements that have been made in society, along with the advantages and disadvantages that they entail. Benny’s focus is technology, whilst Mathas’ is medicine. The EP then takes a break from the vocal tunes with the haunting instrumental track All Year Round, again revisiting the ideas of seasons and cycles introduced earlier on.
The following tune, Oak Dreams, on which the EP is based, finds Benny drawing parallels between the growth of trees from seeds and the creative process, bringing thoughts and ideas to fruition and manifesting them in reality, inspired after Able sent Benny the euphoric, uplifting instrumental of the same name. The project then concludes with closing track On Balance, where Benny exchanges bars with longtime collaborator MNSR Frites about the proverbial plate spinning they perform as part and parcel of London living.
Oak Dreams also features cuts from veteran turntablists Rasp and Sugai, as well as contributions from musician friends who bring live flute, saxophone and guitar to the mix. Benny even plays keys on a couple of tunes!
(Please note, this is a limited vinyl pressing of 120 copies)