With concerts canceled, festival season in limbo, and a national emergency declared, the dance world has come to a lurching halt in the waves of coronavirus. Take a deep breath and recenter. The thing that brought us all together in the first place is still alive and well: electronic music. Medasin’s timely new album, RIPPLS, delivers peaceful beats and healing sounds to meditate on this March.
Grant Neslon, the 22-year-old talent behind Medasin, began producing music at a young age in Texas. After producing The Pink Polo EP in a joint effort with Masego, Medasin received slim to no recognition. His debut album Irene caught the attention of many, with tracks such as Work For You (feat. Kaz Moon) and Home quickly becoming fan favorites. RIPPLS feels like a natural progression from these previous works, weaving beats and sounds from the past into something whole, complete, and mature.
To fully enjoy RIPPLS, sit back and enjoy the ride
As with any continuous mix, part of the beauty involves listening continuously. Rather than following a typical build-drop-build-drop form, each song feels like a single, slow blossoming of one particular emotion. The tracks function more as a parts of a whole rather than pieces in a collection.
The album requires some patience, and complete presence, to fully enjoy. As background music, it quickly falls out of consciousness. With full attention, however, the music rewards listeners. Layer-upon-layer of unique sounds flawlessly balance so that no two sounds compete, yet the ear can roam from foreground to background in a process of constant discovery.
The mix of electronic sounds, instrument samples, and field recordings result in delicious complexity. Repetition has no home here. Instead, textures build upon one another, melodies morph over time, and rhythms reinvent themselves. Medasin displays a pure love for sound that captivates the heart. As a great painter observes the world through a child’s eyes, so does Medasin: observing the world through a child’s ears. Every detail delights.
Unexpected features sprinkle RIPPLS with character
Los Angeles-based Duckwrth, featured on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse soundtrack compilation, delivers sexy, effortlessly cool vocals on Go Crazy. With a rap style that plays with unique rhythms and sounds, he manages to make grunts, spit verses, and sing melodies all in the same song.
Cautious Clay, the up-and-coming producer from Brooklyn, New York, might be best known for his seven track album Blood Type. Get By features the artists vocals, but by the sounds of it likely features collaboration on the production as well. Cautious Clay represents another experimental voice in the electronic scene today. Seeing these two talents put their heads together just goes to show how much unexplored territory still exists.
Lesser known talents in the form of Jean Carter and Khai represent some risk-taking on RIPPLS. Their voices resonate with Medasin’s genre bending work on Retrospect and Did Enough. Somewhere between R&B and rap, these vocal features keep an indie spirit alive within the album.
Standout tracks on Medasin’s new album
Naomi Wild, the singer-song writer who has worked with the likes of Louis the Child and ODESZA, has secured a solid niche in the electronic music scene. Her contribution to Everytime unarguably helped make the track a standout. The lyrics tell a simple, sad story that many of us have lived through in one way or another. Together with punchy vocals and synthy beats, the song reaches instantly tangible emotional depths.
Medasin flexes his personal mastery with Ruminating. The track starts with a bell-like melody and a buzz that seems to fly into your right ear before emerging some time later out the left ear. The careful resonances of each toll soothe the mind, while futuristic bleeps and bloops bubble up out of the calmness. And that’s just the beginning. The track opens up to a full-bodied soundscape before gently setting you down in a quiet place where frogs croak and grasshoppers sing.
Here’s hoping that Medasin’s 2020 tour makes it to Seattle
The RIPPLS tour is scheduled to kick off in late March in Mexico. With just one performance in the Pacific Northwest, we were stoked to see a show scheduled here in Seattle.
With a current ban on all meetings of more than 250 people in King County, no one can say what’s in store for Seattle’s live music scene. Since Medasin isn’t scheduled to hit Seattle until May, we’re hopeful the show will continue as scheduled. I wouldn’t buy a ticket just yet, but remember to save the date: Friday, May 1st at Showbox SoDo.
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