As far as shifting the narrative and expanding the creative space of renowned genres, lifelong artist Souleye has crafted something of a humble yet whole-hearted masterpiece with this album.
His twelfth studio album to date, Disguised as Tomorrow depicts a notable turn towards the boldly complex and gripping development of ideas; thoughts and feelings that emerge as both authentically personal and broadly, topically relatable. The work is subtle yet striking, and consistently a pleasure to escape into whenever the outside world gets a little noisy.
For the opener, Emergency follows gritty yet mellow and deeply contemplative verses, before the switch to a cinematic synth soundscape and nineties-esque electronic indie hook. Alanis Morrisette’s unmistakable featured voice uniquely meanders through hopeful and uncertain territories alike; qualities equally exemplified throughout Souleye’s own complex and considerate bars.
This sense of urgency or Emergency sets the mood well for an album written to reflect upon times of difficulty and fret; specifically, the impact of 2020’s global pandemic.
While the music is deeply emotive, and the production vastly immersive, the lyrics offer an ever-subtle insight and poetic deep-dive into ideas and feelings that naturally elevate the Souleye songwriting style. Emergency is a track that warrants more than a single listen, and whilst a brave opener in being so memorable and rather addictive (an emotively poignant venture) it still proves the perfect choice as an indication of the journey that’s to follow.
Human Spirit comes afterward and musically we’re plunged into a multi-layered realm with exotic twists and traits that back up a decidedly personal opening verse. Soon enough the performance intensifies, and we venture outwards again for an inclusive look at the human form, the mind, and the prospects of tomorrow. Originality in addressing these topics and in musicianship maintains a sensational thread throughout. Souleye impresses all the more so with each step further into the album.
Fresh vocal flows, variety and heavy bass present the ethereal yet mellow New Chapter, before In The Background recaptures that cinematic aspect for an intriguing and atmospheric story. Souleye delivers some of his most compelling imagery here, provoking an imaginative distraction that will likely keep fans tuning back in to capture every reference. Musically again things get creative, stripped-back and organic in between verses – characteristics now renowned amidst this refreshingly unorthodox yet engaging collection.
Letter To The Old Me brings through some classic city hip hop energy, features from Big Samir and Main Flow further its awakening vibe; alongside the weight of distorted electronic dance. Then we get a touch of acoustic melodic delicacy and faster-paced raps for the provocative Exit The Maze.
From The Unheard through Infinite Symphonies we get a handful of nostalgic traits akin to a simpler era, only it’s not the writing or structure, just certain samples, sounds and inflections that tip hats to indie alternatives of times past. Lila Rose’s feature on the former brings a welcomed dash of dynamic, before the retro bass and rhythmically infectious progressions of the latter strike as a quirky highlight.
Unraveling turns another page, playfully exercising a love for the very art of freestyling on the mic amidst a simple yet striking backdrop; and with a concise and unwavering subject matter at hand. The same is true of the beautiful and well-placed Sunlight, its lightness and soul captivating at this late stage within the playlist. Souleye holds attention with ease, thanks to his willingness to be entirely open, diverse and dynamic as an artist.
Creative and fun production reverts to good vibes for an Esjay Jones featured and memorable Protected, whilst Weight of Your Soul ignites that indie conscious rap integrity once again, before the dreamy delicacy and breathy calm of Revel makes for a perfectly reflective final piece.
Meditate on these tracks for a little late-night inspiration or understanding, even employ them for the long commute – Souleye possesses the rare quality of conscious writing intertwined with a humble energy and consistently interesting design. Disguised As Tomorrow is quite possibly his most versatile display yet, and despite this eclecticism, remains committedly rooted amidst its underlying intentions.
Not a bar is wasted, nor will you find any repeated phrases so commonly present across modern releases to mimic prior connections. Originality is an outright strength, and Disguised As Tomorrow works its magic continuously in light of that.
Download or stream Disguised As Tomorrow here. Find Souleye on Instagram or visit his Website.