Rapper/producer Steve The Fish is a 19 year old artist from a small town in Massachusetts. Up until this point, his small but strong discography has been a Soundcloud exclusive, displaying in full the reflective and poignant nature of his bars, as well as his excellent ear for beats. But that’s now changed, as through his songwriting experimentation Steve has created something entirely new and completely and challenging.Crafted entirely from his production arsenal, this is a staggeringly gorgeous instrumental project that fans of hip-hop in all its forms can find enjoyment in.
Opener ‘French Nightclub’ is the heaviest hitter on show here, a restless, pounding kick drum finding centre stage amongst the woodwind cacophony that give the track its colourful, dynamic edges. It was a great choice for a single and an even more effective first track, its organic eurodance feel introducing listeners to a new chapter in Steve’s self-written playbook of creativity. ‘Floating’ is ideal music to disengage from reality to, its bubbling, underwater-esque sound effects submerging the mind in a relaxing dream state. This song feels like a brief interlude and a teaser for grander offerings later in the project, but it still stands out as an enormously gratifying piece of music that feels like a homage to the UK club scene and IDM acts in general.
Then there’s ‘3028’, which follows the futuristic theme of the project. The main synth is incredibly eerie, the percussion maelstrom that envelops it acts as the centrepiece for the whole of Travels Through The Unknown. If the opening duo are global explorations that tape into the finest elements of the dance scene by way of groove-centric hip hop, this song is a step into a future ruled by the swaying cadence of electronic funk. This concept is immediately flipped on its head, however, as ‘Underwater’ riffs on the bassy hypnotism of Kaytranada and BBNG.
‘Outro’ seems to be the track Steve is most proud of, and it’s not difficult to see why. By far the most progressive musical effort on the project, the track uses a lonely piano riff to trap the listener in a weary, morose vacuum that’s every bit as melancholy as it is brimming with restrained optimism. Truly, Travels Through The Unknown is an astounding journey through all the moods and emotions that instrumental hip-hop desperately requires, in many cases ascending these heights and reaching a pinnacle not only by the rapper/producer’s musical standards but by those of the hip-hop/dance crossover wave in general.
Listen to the project in full here.