Beatween is the collaboration between Quebec artist Raycord and French artist Mael. They first came together under this name back in 2016, when they released the album, The Ocean Between Us. Now after working on multiple projects over the last couple of years, things have finally lined up for a new album, No Street Noise.

If you’ve spent time with the first album, or any of these two artists’ other projects, you know that Beatween is about subtly in composition and expanding people’s musical palates through their downtempo instrumental hip hop. What this means is that they don’t hit you over the head with big musical moments, but instead choose to build slowly and create mood and atmosphere as much as they’re working on melodies, and for the majority of their work, eschewing hooks all together. It’s the type of music you want to listen to on headphones, where you can just sit with it and let it all sink in. What this also means is that Raycord and Mael have some genuine curiosity in expanding the traditional instrumentation you might associate with downtempo hip hop. This isn’t to say you won’t hear bass, drums, or keyboards, but it does mean that you will also hear melodies, countermelodies, and harmonies providing by kalimba, steel drums, and cello, just to name a couple. Now, in the wrong hands, incorporating these instruments can sound like some cheesy musical tourism, but Mael and Raycord are approaching these instruments with the upmost respect and really learning to play them and understand their nuances and using their unique sonic textures within each composition so that it adds some distinct flavor but also fits within the bigger picture of the album.

No Street Noise is a welcome return from Beatween. Raycord and Mael have great chemistry together, albeit a really mild-mannered one, but that just means that you get some really mature and nuanced instrumental hip hop out of the duo that will continue to grow and reveal itself with repeat listens.