This is NesBeatz’ 4th full album release. We fully expect to hear sound design textures, solid sonic landscapes and percussive trap like beats, that fill listeners with awe and the magnificence of electronic trap based music. It’s cinematic too, with orchestral and ethnic instrument choices. The latest NesBeatz album: Grandmaster.
First up, as is customary and familiar with the layout of NesBeatz’ albums, we start with logical naming:
Track1 ‘Intro Grandmaster’.
The scene is set in a large well controlled space; a counter marimba introduces the authority that is the kick, in this trap style beat. It’s fresh and seems to set the tone for most of this album, it’s not so immediate this time; it’s more refined, that’s obvious. The sound design flute pulls out the Eastern martial arts flavour; it creates tension against the sub kick. It builds in layers with a weight that is loaded with wisdom, a mindfulness and purpose locked and ready to command any situation. Perfect then, to start the album!
Track 2 ‘Arjanit theme No4’
Starts with a mellow keyboard and synced bells, the sound design here is striking, it has good movement between the elements, being laid out in a spacious, well defined environment; the motif builds and rolls effortlessly, it keeps intrigue and attention to the forefront with ease.
Track 3 ‘Shockwaves’
This album seems to be a bit of a departure in style for NesBeatz, going by the tracks so far. It’s much more ‘wondrous’ in feel, it’s more laidback, perhaps more reflective than previous albums, at least so far. Influenced by featured artist Ramzy Beatz, one would think with a name like ‘Shockwave’ the track would have some serious bite, but surprisingly, it’s a soft, mellow track! Maybe that’s the shock. Starting with a soft piano in a controlled stereo field, (somewhat Bond-ish) we are introduced to some sound design that supports the main feel, never too much, a bell motif swooping in and out of the stereo panorama, with a reasonably busy, choppy hi-hat and simple percussive kick and snare that flesh out this sparse track.
Track 4 ‘Skyward Sonate’
This track rolls with the theme of this album, reflective and with awe, the use of ethnic wind and string instruments and a trap style beats, with eagle samples thrown in for good effect, and high rolling synth pads flesh out the landscape.
Track 5 ‘Arjanit theme 5’
Now we are back in familiar territory! This comes in swinging with thunder, an arpeggiated bell synth, and the familiar favourite dulcimer pinning the melody. Very dramatic, big bass defining the serious intention of this piece, its two minutes and thirty three seconds of something that could be cut for a (rather serious) film scene. Spaghetti westerns also curiously pop up in mind.
Track 6 ‘Delight’
Bells start the composition, with a retro sounding bouncy bass line, samples firing off in all directions, chimes ringing to forward and reversed samples. The feel of this is as it says it is. Delightful!
Track 7 ‘Echoes’
Strings start, a subby bass nails the bottom end, a familiar trap beat (percussive) accents the rhythm, some soft brass accent the syncopated sound designed strings.
Track 8 ‘Classy 4’
Quite a tropical feel this one, in part down to the choice of instruments, especially the steel pan-esq and marimba, the whole thing starts to edge toward the DanceHall genre, which helps too. Lots of subtle sound design going on, it’s a low-key dance track with a surprisingly deep swing. Excellent!
Track 9 ‘Night Orb’
A subby bass with an interesting warp effect starts this track, a few vocal samples thrown in, and a rhodes like keyboard refrain and pin the motif throughout.
Track 10 ‘ Still infamous’
This has a swing, a lilt to it that lends itself to a more organic feel, with a wondrous, dream-like synth refrain over a grainy sub bass. . All these tracks seem to be from the 3rd person POV, as in, an onlooker after the action has gone down.
Track 11 ‘Hitman’
A bit more serious, as you might expect from the title, it’s still not as hard hitting as the title would suggest, rather, it has that quality and vibe the whole album has. This tune has some big orchestral hits, and a topline that is more suggestive than blunt.
Track 12 ‘Nightshift No2’
More like the rougher side of NesBeatz, the big brassy bass is bold and makes an entrance. Dramatic? Yes, by the truckload. Get up and strut.
Track 13 ‘Dominate’
Half way past the middle of the album, we are starting to heat up! The tension has built, and now the more immediate tracks are coming up. Still not full force, but holding a little something in reserve, we have sound designed bells and a trap-esq beat, in a well-designed space, bass punctuates the pulse. It really draws the listener in. Flow with this. You can’t not!
Track 14 ‘Urbane’
Starts with a soft brassy bell refrain and a drum kit (all these tracks are in a similar mid-tempo bpm) this track lopes along somewhat, in part due to the swung, half shuffle beat, and also due to the counterpoint of the bass accents giving the melody all the space it needs. Perfect.
Track 15 ‘Goldschool’
Syncopated dulcimer. NesBeatz likes this, along with sound design strings, a solid sub bass, and a trap beat. Throw in a few samples (cop sirens) and you have the most gangster track here. Goldschool.
Track 16 ‘Conductor’
This track feels Eastern again, ethic even. It’s somewhat old school too (with the use of a rim shot). It’s somewhat mysterious, a little dark perhaps, the main intention is intrigue. It’s possibly down to the wind instruments that carry the melody.
Track 17 ‘Power pursuit’
For the final track, we end on a dramatic piece, not full force, as is the theme of this album but still, it has purpose, poise, stance and interestingly, some kind of empathic feel, an under layer that pervades this whole body as an album. These pieces easily work separately, but also together, the thread and logic is there.
Overall, Neasbeatz’ latest album, “Grandmaster” is a proof of artistic growth towards maturation, offering some time outside of the realm of the everyday copy-paste music.