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The Crackle Plays: ‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ - Nimzo

Investigating the flow in the NJ natives latest.

18th Jan 2019

This week we take a deeper look at Nimzo’s ‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’

Getting into production around 20 years ago Nimzo is out of Kearny, New Jersey. His first foray into Hip-Hop was as an MC. Producing on and off for the last 20 years, Nimzo attributes his sound to three key times in his career: 1997-2001 when he was producing mostly for an alternative Hip-Hop group and then later as a duo with AudioArcade, 2006 when he got a crack of Reason 3 in his senior year of college and made an unreleased album over the course of that year and finally in 2016 , after a hiatus and the birth of his son, he copped a Maschine MKII and immediately fell back in love with making beats again. Released with Dust Collectors,‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ is Nimzo’s latest drop but how does it feature in this producer’s storied career?

The most outstanding feature of ‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ is its freeform expression of music. It blends Lo-Fi, Boom Bap, Jazz and Funk in such a natural way, it’s actually quite hard to classify this album. Whilst ostensibly Hip Hop, the project blends so much stylistically it seems unsatisfactory to pin it down as any one genre. There are jazzy harmonics in plucked guitars, funky drums reminiscent of Pete Rock or Lord Finesse and Lo-Fi fuzz seeping through the entire album. The album opener ‘Ambien’ is a great example. Floating across a subdued but strong drum beat; horns, piano and xylophone vie for the listeners ear. The track encapsulates the true hybrid beauty Nimzo has created. Melting the walls between genres and redefining his own form.

Another special (but perhaps overlooked) element in ‘Waves’ is the broad and beautiful textural palette. Texture is another instrument here. It’s the lens through which you interpret the sounds at play. It’s varied and unique and to the casual listener certain distinctions could be missed, but the subtle reframing of texture lends each track an individual flavour. Nimzo submerges you in the sound palette he has crafted. It’s a level of immersion that’s incredibly well planned and executed but also feels natural and organic. Nimzo attributes a lot of this to his setup and the way he approached production on this joint: 

‘I used a Wurlitzer 200a, a Mellotron Micro and a Moog Sub37. I think it’s the blend of these instruments with my SP-1200, against these dusty samples that really give this album its unique sound. The 1200 drums have that 12-bit crunch and I utilise the swing on the 1200 heavily. The Sub 37 just tends to sit so well in my mixes that it ends up almost sounding like a sample and has a lot of Lo-Fi qualities without having to put any effects on. The same could be said for the Mellotron, which I feel helped give a lot of my leads an authentic sound. The Wurlitzer just has that dirty punch.

The natural feeling of ‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ doesn’t stop at the tone. In fact the whole project is a gorgeous slice organic relaxation. Pure and simple. There’s no strain on this album. Each track floats cerebrally creating an ambience unlike any other. ‘Waves,Vibes and Frequencies’ is a leisurely ride which invites you to lose yourself in its swell. The whole process feels organic but still capable of crafting memorable melodic hooks that will stick in your mental. A large part of this ease comes from the blend of original compositions and sampling. Nimzo had this to say on the topic: 

‘I would say about 30% of this album is samples and 70% is original composition. Most of these songs started with one sample and a drum beat from the SP-1200. I was really pushing myself to create more original melodies, so if I found one sample that could form the backbone of a song, I felt comfortable complementing the sample with something of my own. This was the formula for most of the songs. In some cases, like in Fratelli, I sampled my own playing to create the song. One of my aims with this album was to blur the lines so that it would be hard to distinguish the sample from the original composition.'

'Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ is a tour de force of beat-making excellence. It is raw freeform expression; textured and moulded with Nimzo’s unique hybrid style of seamless creation. The album creates an organic aura of calm that is hard to pin down to any one element. The project traverses different genres, techniques and styles in such a way that the listener is encouraged to simply drink in the journey. The artistry at play here is beautiful whilst still feeling familiar and inviting. ’Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ is a special album. Created at the zenith of a two decade long story and offering so much, both musically and thematically, this is essential listening for beatheads of all tastes. 

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Listen to ‘Waves, Vibes and Frequencies’ here:

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