A thoroughly thought-provoking listen which entails everything from the finest details of the human psyche to powerful messages for the very future of the human race, Nightmares On Wax (aka George Evelyn) has returned and brought yet another incredibly creative record which strives on ingenuity, passion and community. Shape The Future is a dynamic listen which combines all the passion of a motivational speech with the chilled backbeats of a hip-hop-jazz record in the best way imaginable.
This album is a collaboration in its purest form, with George being the integral backbone which brings it all together. The level of talent demonstrated on the record is fresh, sharp and acts as a brilliant reminder of the fantastic sense of community which music has the power to create. Opening the record is ‘Back To Nature’ featuring Kuauhtli Vasquez and Wixarika Tribe and immediately the album shows its diverse mashing of sounds which would rarely meet. The combination of Kuauhtli’s moving words and the shamanistic and naturalness from the Wixarika Tribe is beautiful and unexpected; it is as though George has blended two entirely separate worlds. This being said, George has not been afraid to combine the chilled vibes with something more upbeat, ‘Tomorrow’ brings forth an almost reggae/tropical vibe to the album which leaves a lovingly warming feel to the listen. LSK’s vocal performance on the track stresses simplicity with simultaneous variance, which really leaves a remarkably lasting impression.
Collaboration albums are always a difficult thing to balance, too easily can an artist fall into the trap of losing their own sound whilst trying to adhere to that of the featuring artists, however, Nightmares On Wax faces no such issues. Tracks such as the lead single ‘Citizen Kane’ stress nothing but killer drum beats and sharp instrumentals underneath the fantastic vocal delivery from Mozez. Despite the talent being presented, the handful of purely bliss instrumentals such as ‘On It Maestro’ and the brilliant ‘Gotta Smile’ really capture George’s personal sound eloquently.
It is hard to pick any specific track as a single favourite as each holds their own sense of character, but Jordan Rakei’s appearance on ‘Typical’ is a definite high. Jordan’s voice is a diverse journey which you can truly delve into, having the power to not only reach the highest of sopranos but still power through the song’s bolder notes. I will definitely be checking out Jordan’s material too as collaborations such as this don’t come along too frequently! Likewise, Sadie Walker’s appearance on ‘Deep Shadows’ is a brilliant addition to the album’s sound. Perhaps a bit more of a female representation could have brought a little more edge to Shape The Future, but Sadie’s performance is incredibly powerful and is simply a delight to listen to. The track is a brilliant combination of emotion and ambience before dropping into a bouncing groove which utilises brilliant layering of Sadie’s voice and adds a great deal of texture when combined with George’s fresh beats.
Overall, Shape The Future is an album which is the very embodiment of creativity within music. It is a beacon of refreshing sounds which I can see many finding a great deal of enjoyment from and George should be remarkably happy with this end product. Nightmares On Wax has once again brought forth the very freshest in uprising talents as well as developing his own sound in a familiar but creative fashion. After hearing this record, I genuinely cannot wait to see how these tracks transfer into a live environment when George visits Brighton this February.