Happy May, everyone!
This month, we were graced by a new Cheapbeats release written and produced by UK electronic artist, Gesceap. Released on May 4th, the seven track album is full of glitchy percussion and hypnotic melodies composed with Nanoloop. With a variety of digital elements comes a strong song structure created from from samples and soft synths. Interestingly enough, this was the first Nanoloop iOS album ever released on Cheapbeats, so on top of the sound being sublime, listeners can hear history unfolding right before their ears.
When I listen to a record, just like how when I make one, I tend to listen and check my mixes on both my studio speakers and headphones. I’m currently on the road and, as I write this, I’m limited to my iPhone speakers. Just from hearing it from this extremely limited audio source, I can say the album’s mixes are done very well. The percussion cuts through perfectly, and the bass holds its own space without creating a centimeter of mud. While an album isn’t just about a great mix, I can honestly say that each track was wonderful to listen to and the album itself was easy to listen to at one time. As a whole, it was unique and beautiful, and I can see why Cheapbeats proudly released it.
‘Belikeus’ is an interesting track that held both breakthrough percussive samples and light sinewave synth pads, and I love the combination of the two. Some tracks on the album also include videos; this one includes a split screen of greyscale graphics and a .wav editor/MIDI data. The graphics fit the music quite well and this track reminded me of a puzzle escape game. For me, so much of both music and mixing is about balance. While I think the best records can be created via trial and error, I also find that my favorite music gives so much room for different sound elements to shine through. While, sure, we can achieve this to some extent with mixing, I really feel this album, as a whole, was written with so much care given to each instrument and the space it takes up and the space it creates when combined with others.
‘Takeitslow01’ is my favorite track, and because of it, I’d love to see this entire album performed live. My favorite part of this release is that I didn’t know the artist’s work prior but, after listening to track after track, I can see that the artist has a voice. I love the tuned kick in this track, the mix, and the song structure. Though the first section is repetitive, there is so much going on within it, and between the glitchy percussion and the soft melody, there is always something unique to focus on. The second section provides good variety but never strays too far from bringing us back to section 1.
‘Mkbbs01’ has both interesting sound design and fascinating chord structure. Melodically, each section simply didn’t go where I expected, which made me love it even more. The breaks between percussion were attention grabbing and gave me the space to appreciate the sweet pads used for melodies, and also allowed recognition for how strong the melodies are, despite being constructed with lighthearted pads.
I hope everyone has a chance to listen to ‘Novum’ and I’m sure that everyone who does will do so in one sitting. The album, to me, was meditative and just what I needed to listen to during a long commute between Boston and New York City.
Until next time,
The Unicorn Princess