Brown Calculus formed at the end of 2016, and less than a year later, they've graduated from smoke- and sweat-filled basement shows to frequent spots on club bills. Recorded live at the Map Room recording studio in Southeast Portland, the EP is peppered with contagious cackles, applause, and words of gratitude, capturing Burgos and Kimmons in their element—intimate, vibing, and bursting with love. Throughout Live at the Map Room, Kimmons alternates between slinky, soulful vocals and Erykah Badu-inspired spoken-word, while Burgos delivers complex beats that are always smooth.
Although instrumental loops and retro synth melodies evoke interstellar moods, Brown Calculus' lyrics are firmly rooted in our realm, and center on self-actualization, the fight for collective liberation, and celebrations of Blackness. On "Cherry Blossoms," Kimmons sings about wishing she could hibernate and appear only once a year, like the cherry blossoms that line Portland's waterfront. "Good Job" is stuck in a world of technological advances and romances: "My life has been reduced to staring at bubbles and dots, waiting for them to decide my fate," sings Kimmons. Towards the end of the song, she wonders, "Will he say something?" and waits several beats before answering, "Sorry. Fell asleep."
Kimmons and Burgos have a rare musical synchronicity, which they attribute to their shared Gemini astrological sign. Wherever this power comes from, Live at the Map Room showcases the growth, empowerment, and transformative power of Brown Calculus' music.