- The simplicity of it's complexity
- The summer vibes delivered in Spring
- It's crossover appeal
- It's ability to fade into the background after so many listens
- The fact we need more, more, more.
In a landscape where it pays for you to be born and raised on the streets of London, preaching the perils of living the double-edged sword life of Grime; or where it pays for you to hail from the North, soaking yourself in the sheen of the New York City mid-noughties underground, telling tales of late nights, ex-lovers, and lost weekends to a background of gleaming guitar rock. Between the two, there’s little room for much else save ED SHEERAN, musical soundtracks, and a talent show contestant. Crossover conductors who dabble in dance music via a myriad cocktail of genres you couldn’t possibly make up operate the tiniest of gaps, turning all they touch into gold. THE CHAINSMOKERS ability to craft bubble-gum pop bangers and stripped-back politically-charged jams simultaneously is the leading example, and it’s from that point that Estonian producer NOËP departs from.
Centred on the electro alt-pop of recent single New Heights, NOËP’s five-track EP Heads In The Clouds is a science experiment of summer-shaking proportions, twisting tropical house with bass-heavy beats, adding a tornado of sounds that pays homage as much to THE CHAINSMOKERS as it does JOSEF SALVAT, it’s electro-pop a welcome retreat from the heaviness of the current musical landscape.
The TOUGH LOVE-featured Offside is the stand-out hit of the pack whilst the tropical house of Loved The Love whisks you away to all of those summer nights spent in the haze of overseas clubs and the hangovers spent dazing on sandy beaches, it’s layers opening up around you and pulling you in like a rabbit hole. That’s where NOËP separates himself from all the small fish in the big pond of electronic-pop music, the sounds he wraps around layers upon layers are complex structures of tropical beats, club-fuzz basslines, and hooks that hit you like they were written by the big-wigs of a paid-for writers room disguised within songs that accentuate simplicity, and that’s where the magic truly lies.
Heads In The Clouds is a gift that keeps on giving, pulling you in one more time every time, encapsulating you through its matrix of sounds, NOËP’s ability to experiment with anything and everything exploding in your ears softly as if all of his subtle nuances were nothing significant to your ear but simply the fabricated make-up of a series of songs that ultimately leave you listening for hours on end, the soundtrack to a summer you haven’t lived yet.
That, of course, is NOËP’s downfall. Whilst yes, it is a wonderful thing to create a short body of work that is so rewarding even on the fifth run-through, it isn’t such a wonderful thing when round six comes along and the sounds fade into the background, the chit-chat and pitter-patter of the world around you encapsulating you more than the music. It’s lasting, but not ever-lasting. There isn’t a single here that could stand the test of time and make its way into those post-teens summer-of-nostalgia playlists, but the potential for NOËP to create a single like that is most definitely there.
Heads In The Clouds is a powerful suite of songs for a producer practicing his craft in a pond that is both ever-growing at the same time as ever-tiny. If a balance can be found between the complexity of his layers and the infectiousness of his song-writing charm, there’s a future hit-maker here.