Sometimes a recording catches you off guard, rising from nowhere and worming its way into your ears with new sounds and ideas. Such a recording grows on you over time, and eventually can reorient what music and sounds you thought you liked. “Soul City” released on December 31 by artist and producer GentleBeatz, is such an EP. Emotionally rich, musically rich, and technically brilliant, it appeared with little fanfare or publicity to mesmerize our senses. GentleBeatz is an artist and producer currently residing in Mozambique. The eclectic creative crafts his tracks in the lo-fi hip-hop/chill-hop genres. Here he includes flavors taken from Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop, Soul, Blues, EDM, RnB, Folk, Indie, and World music, which enable him to create a distinct sound.
Available on all major digital stores, the “Soul City” EP contains 8 tracks which is described as “An emotional journey from broken-hearted to healed, from sadness to happiness.” The title track, and current single, has the rhythm and flow of free form poetry, and speaks its own musical language. It’s a hip-hop song at its core, but like a handful of his eloquent contemporaries, GentleBeatz utilizes the smooth, fresh nature of jazz and chill.
Think the late Dilla, but with more emphasis on the instrumentation and smooth fusion of sounds. There’s typically so much going on, but it’s so masterfully structured, that it seems like GentleBeatz merely happened upon this beat and rhythm.
Whether it be a dash of rhythmic tranquility, or a spoonful of instrumental brightness, there’s something special that makes “Soul City” standout, as it all feels so painfully natural. Digital effects like precise reverb, filtering, and vocal sampling are like the stain on a fine piece of furniture – they make an already strong creation sparkle and shine.
A crescendo built up to by meticulously melodic guitar plucking, rising and falling keyboard melodies, and that driving percussion, are all elements inside GentleBeatz’s tool bag, and he uses them with flair on this track. Establishing an existential and quasi-spiritual tone, which runs the gambit of pure emotional ecstasy.
“Soul City” sways with colorful, pleasurable tones, dependent on a highly-communicative melody and vocal harmony adlibs. It’s a song written for the real world, where life can be melancholic and sad, as often as it is purposeful, joyful and fun. The sound, both cultivates and reflects a mood.
GentleBeatz seems to make music to express his own inner sensibilities and passions, and to stir the hearts of many. His style of music innovates, excites, and exemplifies the magic that can happen when sounds, emotions, and technologies blend through music in just the right proportion.
The neat thing about “Soul City” is that the listener is left to wonder, free to create personal interpretations and connections with GentleBeatz’s music. Listen to it once, and you will find something beautiful within its silky smooth soundscape. But listen to it again and again, and the music becomes an experience, a journey, a life. Something truly emotional. “Soul City” is ready for the world to hear.
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