Fresh from the EP Duality, Shao offers up a deeply soothing groove with the mellow and reflective track Balance. Leading with a trip-hop style beat, with flickers of ambient jazz and an overall sense of calm, Shao presents an equally mellow yet intentional rap flow that surprises yet suits the mood of the music beautifully. More than this though, the ideas and word-play within are increasingly impressive throughout the track. There’s a poetic nature to the way the lines are formed, to the observations that feel partly personal and partly more world-relative and accessible. There’s also a genuine and humble tone to the voice, which fits the mood again but also adds authenticity to the underlying sentiment.
The very concept of Balance is represented in every possible way on this track. Intensity is balanced with peacefulness, optimism is balanced with realness, melody is balanced with rap and rhythm. And all the while, the whole thing continues to rain down in an entrancing fashion. It’s easy to escape into the moment, the song isn’t structured in a jarring or overly attention grabbing manner – it just moves along like great music often does. It sets out a vibe for the listener and holds close to that until the very end.
The initial observations or connections you make to the music and the performance the first time around grow a little clearer and stronger with each revisit. There’s a lyrical density to the track, so you’re likely to miss the odd moment or idea with only a single listen. Fortunately, the vibe is so blissfully enjoyable that it’s a pleasure to replay it all, and every time you do you pick up on some new line or point that wins your affection even more-so. A must for the conscious rap and ambient music fans alike.