SINK OR SWIM VOL4

-By NICOTEEN

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ColorTrap - “It’s A Shame”

Score = B (Swim)

All the way from Paris, France comes the synth wave flavored single from Smokey Markus under the ColorTrap label/moniker. The track confidently ooze’s 80’s synth nostalgia from the moment it begins; as step-sequenced drums followed by Smokey’s smooth french-accented-English swagger helps keep the track moving from side to side. While there is not a lot going on particularly with the instrumental, the atmosphere is kept “cool” which is all that’s needed for Smokey to state plainly “Its a shame your not here….” and have you feel like you’re missing out on the fun.

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TROWA BARTON - “Dysphoria”

SCORE: B- (Swim)

TROWA BARTON returns for 2019 with his abyssal coated EP “Dysphoria” as a follow up to his strong yet flawed debut album Heretic 2018. While Heretic was an album full of tracks that were mostly an assortment of nice beats, Dysphoria makes up the lack of a cohesive image in the former with songs that build up on each other theme wise. Many of the tracks feel reminiscent in atmosphere to horror core/experimental greats such as Dälek or Gravediggaz as most of the time Trowa’s production relies on either his vocal presence or the instrumentals to help convey feelings like unease, fear, dread, and paranoia. “Goodbye” and “Tupac & BG” in particular have this awesome reverb on their synths and drum track that reminds me of something out of Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works 85­-92”. It’s in these moments that the listener can really hear what Trowa is trying create, but being caught up in creating atmosphere leaves Dysphoria with some minor spots in other areas of excellence. While props must be given for being self-produced, at times the production falters as levels are clearly shifted in order to compete with the vox and instrumentals and some tracks have very little going on its arrangement which left me wanting something more. That being said, Dysphoria is an enjoyable short EP for those who are looking for something on the grim and glum side of hip ­hop as well as being proof that Trowa Barton’s growth as an artist is exponential. Looking towards your next release, Trowa.

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“In Motion” Myka 9 & Adriatic

SCORE: B+ (Swim)

“In Motion” is the title of the album by Minneapolis beat maker/producer Adriatic and Myka 9 of Freestyle Fellowship fame. It’s clear from the first track that the duo’s purpose with this album is to avoid any of the stereotypical trappings of the current internet hip-hop scene as both Myka 9 and Adriatic combine their talents from each of their respective backgrounds to create something new, yet, familiar to prospective listeners. Myka 9’s wordplay and use of melody is particularly one of the most enjoyable parts of the album as tracks like “Granted”, “The Runaround”, and “One Place(ft. Julian Finch)” all have a swagger that could not be produced by anyone but Myka 9 himself. Adriatic’s instrumentals for the album fall into two general categories, which I would assume is representative of the collaboration between Mkya 9 and Adriatic’s backgrounds. Track’s like “In My Reality (Ft. Abstract Rude)”, and “All Seeing”, provide heavy hitting boom bap beat’s with enough swing and snap to crack a neck and have Myka 9 still spit calmly over you. The other songs however are heavily laced with Adriatic’s kaleidoscopic style featured on his “Shrub EP” from 2016, as many of the tracks feature hazy soundscapes and an idyllic atmosphere that gives character as well as a sense of immersion to the whole album. The album may not appeal to specifically those who are younger and looking for the next neon-haired, face-tatted, SoundCloud artist of the month, but those who are looking for something with a more lyrical and groovy vibe should definitely give it a listen.