Since last year’s creatively on point and hypnotic Wave, the possibility of a longer project from artist and songwriter Paradame was exciting. The wait is finally over, and Aye! Priori fits the mold pretty perfectly – and breaks it at the very same time.
Hurricane kicks things off, a spacious and colourful trip-hop ambiance backs up both spoken word and melody, the song evolves from the quiet to the quick, the soundscape grows and changes consistently; not unlike the concept implied by the title. The rap flow is huge, something that seem to get more and more impressively rhythmic and in tune with the music as things progress.
The unforgettable Wave comes next, that classic Paradame sound – the first we heard and the thread throughout all of this. Very few artists in hip hop, or elsewhere for that matter, so openly fuse secure characteristics with genre fluidity, as well as confidently and successfully presenting both smooth melodies and quick paced raps. These songs showcase creative artistry in a pure and experimental form. The ambiance is far from organic, weaving unpredictable instrumental samples and effects around you, creating movement and energy out of electronically driven synths. The songwriting as well, the subject matter never succumbs to what is commonplace or expected in the mainstream music world. The expression is free – free from expectation, free from concern, free to be true to the mind of the artist. It makes for something continuously interesting.
Break This takes on something of a more familiar role within the collection. There’s an emotional delicacy to the sound, the leading voice comes through beautifully – a simple melody delivers these provocative questions and ideas in a way that makes you really listen. The song feels accessible, comfortable, yet still managing to work its magic far from the confines of expectation. This moment of calm works well at this point.
The darkness of an industrial beat comes through with Cobra CMDR. The track has a manic and haunting attitude about it, the rap vocal is relentless until the hook, as is the beat – everything within works hard to craft this striking, unstoppable piece of music and writing. Paradame’s rap performance is through the roof here, the style and sound becoming all the more recognisable with every moment, the lyrics continuing to surprise and appeal.
Ursula follows well, a noticeably gentle ambiance comes through, again with plenty of space surrounding each element. The melody is great here, minimalist in a way, but leading effectively through the sections up towards the hook. The lyrics are powerful, as always – provoking deep thought, unusual levels of consideration. The music and melody combined have a distinctly hypnotic and soothing effect that really works as something quite addictive within the album. This is definitely one of the most easy to repeat tracks of the collection – the progression of this gathering of lyrics and notes hits hard. A touch of nostalgia meets with something completely fresh. A personal highlight.
Don’t Ask Why (Ft DMac Uno) adds a further touch of nostalgia, an early 21st century vibe appears – the vocal rhythm, the ideas, the party feel, the melody. The thing that stands out here is the beat – this is the one thing that doesn’t quite fit the familiar sentiment, and that’s a great thing. Throughout this project there is always at least one element that really draws your attention to its unusual placement. This adds so much creative flair and personality, it really helps keep the sound feeling new and impossible to predict.
The final track of the album is A Thin Line, a moment that stands tall in its own right and really finishes things off in a hugely captivating way. The delicacy of the musical backdrop – the simple beat, the simple notes hit on the piano, the simple flickers of distortion – this contrasts cleverly with the vocal melody and the later switch to the high-energy rap delivery. The main melody here has a vintage RnB feel that appears as quite striking or unsettling alongside of this particular beat. The song is again hypnotic, mesmerising, very easy to switch off and forget yourself to. It’s an unusual way to bring things to a close, but that works – it suits the Paradame approach pretty well. The eclecticism and freedom is huge. It’s a powerful way to finish, without a doubt, and most definitely another highlight of the project; perhaps due to its stark contrast with the fast pace found elsewhere.
Paradame has a lot to offer, musically, lyrically, artistically. The project feels short but it’s easily long enough to get lost in – perhaps the perfect balance between ongoing and forgettable. It leaves its mark, and these songs are impressively unique and easy to return to again and again. There’s likely to be a lot more where this came from. Well worth tuning in for.