naldooo’s mix-tape Nightbutterfly presents what at first feels like a familiar, modern day release, but quite quickly evolves into a unique fusion of styles and genres that remains consistently true to the artist’s own way with music.
Taking inspiration from both down-tempo hip hop and nu-rock or emo, the opening track Tangled Thread showcases a light electronic backdrop among a punk-rock-like leading voice with a surprising level of delicacy about it. Lyrics-wise the song is immediately honest and open, dealing with matters of the heart and the mind in unison. The title and indeed much of what lies within seems to bring together modern language and thoughtful poetry in a casual but emotional manner.
Can Use follows the opener and redirects the experience quite distinctly. Eclecticism runs fairly free on this project, but at the same time, you soon begin to gather an understanding of the artist and what these songs represent for him. This song has a uniquely dark ambiance and entrancing rhythm. The leading voice outlines a number of different sides to the character behind them. The switch from the somewhat theatrical verse to the melodic hook keeps things interesting, and the instrumental break reminds you of the creativity and colour that makes up the musicality.
NIGHTBUTTERFLY (feat. t h a l i a) continues the experience with that now familiar production style – the elements are different in every case, but there’s a certain thread, a certain softness and personality about the choices that make up each soundscape. On this track, the featured vocalist brings a mildly husky whisper to the scene, contrasting with naldooo’s own confident and up-front performance; fitting the mood of the moment brilliantly and adding yet another layer of appeal. Lyrically this one veers off even more so in the way of care-free expression, as well as keeping the realness alive in between bouts of swagger. It’s a performance, by all accounts – there to entertain and inspire – but it also brings an irreplaceable level of truth to its audience. Some of the lines feel classically hip hop, some feel completely new and true to the artist at hand.
The detail and complexity of the soundscapes and production work shines in a fresh way on Almost Everyday (feat. Lacsap’s Fractions). This trip-hop-like piece of progressive, piano-led, atmospheric music makes for a totally refreshing and soothing moment within the project. There’s a certain hypnotic quality to this song that’s really well received at this point. Easy to play on repeat, and with some stand-out ideas that linger in your mind after listening.
My Phone is Silent Witness appears beautifully after what came before. The meeting of the vocal melody and the soundscape, the mood, the effect – it all reminds you not for the first time of the late Lil Peep; perhaps the first or most well-known of several artists who felt a certain way or who connected with this breaking down the walls between genres style of expression. This song is a definite highlight, soulful and heartfelt, compelling.
love will take U back follows and seeks to completely surprise listeners with further eclecticism. The piano emerges first, then a higher-ended double-vocal part with a simple yet brilliantly effective melody. The sadness or concern in the leading voice transcends the musical reach and connects on a deeply personal level. The switch from the melody to the rap keeps things moving in an effective way. Another highlight.
By the time Paris, Texas starts to play, you’re aware that the mix-tape gets more interesting as things progress. It makes you want to hear some of those earlier moments a second time to reconsider them and to get a little closer to the artist. This song is incredibly revealing and personal. The melodic moments scream their truth to you, at breaking point – vocally and metaphorically. The switch to the rap verse again utilises contrast pretty well, as does the vintage spoken word sample and story-line.
Be There (feat. t h a l i a & Lil Bern) brings the mix-tape to a finish with one of perhaps the more mainstream-suitable songs of the collection. This feels like a fusion of nineties RnB and the more experimental, trap-meets-trip-hop sound of today. It’s a smooth way to close the collection down and again reiterates that unique production style and sense of character inherent within naldooo’s work.