The trailer for Apocalypse Soon reminded me of the sound effects from ad-libbed pirate radio adverts from a good few years ago. That, and radio adverts back in the caribbean. The track itself is akin to dancehall music, with instrumental backing, a laid over spoken rhythm, augmented by electronic effect.
The trailer is a collection of shots edited together to give an impression of carnival season. With many upbeat images of no holds barred partying, it’s quite effective. It creates a level of excitement for the rest of the EP, I can’t wait to listen.
What began as a collaborative effort between American DJ Diplo, and producer Switch, changed in 2011. Diplo is now striking out alone. He has since enlisted producers Jillionaire & Walshy Fire (Black Chimney) to assist in production and live shows. With bursting electronic synth, layered cultural influences and effects timed to perfection. His music is amazing.
Known officially as Thomas Wesley Pentz, ‘Diplo’ is a Los Angeles musical polymath. His talents spanning production, DJ’ing, rapping and songwriting. Due to his wide ranging skill set, he has literally worked with everyone. Beyonce, Kid Cudi, Bruno Mars, Alex Clare, and Elephant Man to name but a few. As recently as last year, Diplo has collaborated with Skrillex to form the duo JackU. Diplo has once again recruited some of the biggest names in music to collaborate on this 5 track EP.
‘Aerosol Can’ ft. Pharrell Williams, the focus of this review, received it’s first play on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, back at the end of February.
This’ll be the first time I’ve had to note this, but…Parental Guidance Needed. Not immediately noticeable, Pharrell’s perfect lyrical melody masks it quite effectively. But for all of us used to this kind of language…this is an incredible tune!
Developed in bare bones dancehall style Major Lazer use elements known as Riddims, as a backing track. The complete track combines subtle lyrical rhymes. Which are then layered over both the chorus demands of old school calypso, the pulsing bass beat and new school electronic pickings. It’s wildly successful at giving the impression of unrestricted partying. The trailer, mentioned earlier was greatly reflective of the contents of the EP. Add to that the syncopated percussion right before the track is let loose. You are drawn in and brought to life by the myriad elements that Lazer uses.
The track feels like it is throwing out the music to fill physical spaces. The power behind this track can become a little muted if listened to through regular speakers. With some decent subwoofers, and at full volume, it is glorious. In the background it is easily lost.
The majority of the song is taken over by the spoken word. When you can actually figure out what is being said, it steps outside the realm of conscientious rap and becomes fun to listen to. Pharrell doesn’t hold back. He uses everything from old school toasting, and other older elements of the genre; to brief but effective melody switch ups. This snippet of singing adds such an effective change you don’t expect it. It has an immediate effect on how the rap section sounds when it reemerges. The effect reverberates throughout the rest of the track.
Pharrell’s melodious vocal lends itself smoothly to the track. It gives it a subtle, restrained edge, toning it down so that while it does contain many dancehall elements, its overall feel isn’t as raucous as dancehall has a tendency to be.
Verdict: While some people might not call this dancehall. Major Lazer uses its elements with a definitive and effective touch. Making an excellent, catchy track. Pharrell’s spoken melody adds substance and heart, allowing the track to become the perfect warm up act to the rest of the album. I would recommend blasting this song out, Anywhere! Just watch your headphones, your ears and possibly your neighbours. Its definitely a track to play loud and proud.