Beat Sampras slow it right down and dial up the quality in their new album “Cruise”

When I used to think of Beat Sampras, I would vaguely think of EDM. Electro dependency, progressive exploration. Hell, it was even the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival which brought Dylan Fine and David Migwalla together.

These days it’s smooth R&B, clean Afro-pop beats and down-tempo expertise. Cruise is a 9-track melodic journey – a languid reminder that’s it not only about where you’re going, but how you get there. And they get there at a steady cruise.

I’m going to waste no time in saying this is one of the best releases I’ve heard this year. They’ve taken a left turn, hit the breaks, and are navigating the scenic roads of slick production.

For the most part, adoring love songs rule the spectrum, hidden beneath the guise of deft soundscapes. The raindrop beat of “Stop and Go” gives way to wholesome synth and echoing riffage in “What Do You Know”.

They are no strangers to the clutches of pop either (see “Whatever You Want”), but through the off-kilter, soulful beats of the album, “Just Be Safe” wraps things up with the kind of minimalism which trumps any notion these guys are sitting on an electro safe-zone. It’s purely bare-boned skill.