The Overdue Review takes a moment to appreciate the songs, albums, and artists that slipped under our radar. Better late than never!
Nedaj – GENESIS
Nedaj makes thoroughly sick jungle music, amphetamine breaks squished between compressed bass and wry, affected vocals. The first tune I heard from them, “Kashmir”, hooked me, its electronic swells and rapid beats proving inescapable. I found it in a playlist that sums the style up far better than I ever could, “PS2 racing game music” – high energy dance tracks with jagged voxel edges, as perfect in timing as they are imperfect in fidelity.
“GENESIS”, the debut album from Nedaj, is suitably cranked. Second track “ENIGMA”, with Sadbalmain, clips and stutters with overwhelming loudness. “MORTEM”, another of the pair’s collabs, flips Linkin Park’s hyper-dramatic “Numb” into a post-cerebral portal, soaked in exploding kicks and the endless resonant clatter of its drum breaks. One for the emo ravers.
Elsewhere, the genre shifts. “SENSOR”, with Amore, is the type of thing Naked Flames might put together if he was just fueled by rage. Closing track “AKINA” is the most abstract, breaks set to dissonant drones, burning out against saw-edged bass. Nothing about “GENESIS” is a parody – this is loud, cathartic drum and bass from a true lover of the craft.
BINA. – Dark Cloud / Dark Cloud (Nia Archives Remix)
BINA.’s got stories. Her hazy RnB is infused with tales of late nights, long trips, and conflicting emotions. “Dark Cloud“, from her 2021 EP “This Is Not A Film”, has a fitting commitment to realism – not only are her tales engaging, they’re deeply believable. BINA.’s subdued and immersive vocals converse with the listener as she organises her life in the back of a cab, learns to play FIFA while crashing somewhere nondescript, and surrounds herself with drugs and distractions. “When I need to escape, I find myself shrouded in your dark skin, your dark, dark cloud” she sings, piling on the imagery effortlessly. She’s conflicted, struggling, but won’t let that chip her confidence; she sings “This is what you need” again and again.
Equally excellent is Nia Archives’ remix of “Dark Cloud”, which sets spacious jungle drums to the tune’s revolving keyboard chords. Nia’s been on a crazy come up this year, leading the new wave of nostalgic EDM and performing at Reading & Leeds Festival. Even though the remix is a few months old now, it’s amazing to see that she’s still in touch with the underground.
Lewi Swiper – cold shoulder
GYPTXVN’s Instagram story is a top place to find some new artists – I came across Lewi Swiper’s “cold shoulder” there in June. Lewi Swiper, a rapper-singer from London, has a great sense of how to work pitch correction. “cold shoulder” is the best he’s yet been as he navigates a collapsing relationship. Lyrics like “No lie, I think we’re toxic as can be” land with a powerful blend of anger, denial, and acceptance, dragged through the emotional mud by Swiper’s gravelly voice. There are some brilliant tunes in Swiper’s catalogue, too – “GENIE” and “NO BLUFFIN” from last year are particularly strong vocal performances. Travis Scott’s a clear influence on backing vocals and the fantastic mixing – can’t complain when the tune sounds this clean.
Heymun – HYMN
Heymun is an electronic musician and Youtuber with a channel full of intricate and passionate synthesiser meditations. Her album, “HYMN”, came out in 2020, and features some of the most ambitious and vast ambient music I’ve ever heard. The tracklist is defined by subtlety and expert layering of electronic sounds, with weightless singing from Heymun herself. “Burn” begins with muttering radar sounds and featherweight vocals before blooming into piano. Elsewhere things are even more orchestral. “You” features a dense pad section and emotive lyrics; “Colder water, moving closer, I feel it all”. Here the piano seeks to accompany itself against a cosmic void of reverb and filtered synth waves, reforming into flowering arpeggios. “HYMN” can be, and often is, an incredibly beautiful album.
Ultimately, whether in a field of jagged electric tones or in the lushest forests of atmosphere, listening to “HYMN” feels like falling through something, picking up momentum in a shifting sky. Heymun assembles something translucent, fantastical, and necessary. Respect for pasting “For your Grammy consideration” on the front cover too.
454 – THANKFUL
Florida’s 454 has a way of describing things in a way that feels so playful but so serious, like a less conspiracy-mad RxK Nephew . When 454 says “Mandatory lil walk with the pet, just to collect some thoughts in my head” with the swagger and confidence of someone who just found a winning lottery ticket in their coat pocket, there’s a mix of majesty and relatability. The bar is from “THANKFUL“, the first track on a double-single of the same name. Across the relaxed bounce of “THANKFUL” and its sugary follow-up “SKITTLES“, 454 walks through life with a centred spirit. Often he’s as funny as he is earnest; “Everyday a new play for a Frito lay, stack them chips just to save for a rainy day”. This is probably the most fun you will have with a pair of songs this year. Unbelievably catchy stuff.
Photon Tide – Underwater
Rediscovering music is underrated in the age of information! Some of the best moments you can have as a music lover are the ones where a song finally clicks or just hits different after some time away. I’ve been looking through the music of Photon Tide, now better known for his digital artwork than music. In fact, he hasn’t posted a new song in over a year; nonetheless there’s some amazing stuff in his catalogue. “Underwater”, produced by Dazegxd, is one of Pho’s best, a surging house banger that really highlights his range – as one Soundcloud commenter put it, “uber funky”. Across the track Photon stretches his vocals as the bass simply pulses on. Things change, people change, but the music stays, a time capsule of a different creative era. Hopefully we’ll hear more from him someday.
– Jamie (Managing Editor @108MICS)