REVIEW: Numaads – Now EP

Project Mooncircle are one of my favourite record labels right now for a simple reason; they put out amazing music. Completely out of the blue they caught me by surprise recently with the debut EP from Numaads, which is called the Now EP. Numaads consists of Dutch producer Sense (from The Q4) and beautiful songstress Esperanzah, who combine brilliantly to create a mesmerising blend of soul and laid-back hip-hop.

The Now EP is six tracks long and spans just under 18-minutes. It also includes two remixes of the title track, Now; one by German electronic beats maestro Robot Koch and the other by the legendary American producer J Rawls.

Tracklisting:

01. Now
02. Wanting
03. Thankful
04. World
05. Now (Robot Koch Remix)
06. Now (J Rawls Remix)

The EP kicks off with the aforementioned title track, Now, and it’s a real smoky soul affair of a song. A Raw, hard hitting, steady beat enters, surrounded by ethereal instrumentation in the guise of subtle strings and stabs. Then of course there’s the vocal from Esperanzah. I don’t think there’s any need for comparisons, instead I would choose to approach the sound with fresh ears. Haunting, yet soothing, a sweet balance between the two provides a combination of smoothness and gritty attitude. Wanting changes the vibe slightly, with Esperanzah expressing another side to her abilities, which in this instance is her ability to rap. A down-tempo jazz-hop tune which dances gracefully between emceeing and singing. Esperanzah is like a one-lady two-piece act in this sense – providing her own vocal layers, and it works wonderfully. The third track is Thankful, which takes the vibe down a further notch, very sultry and emotive. World, brings things back up slightly, with a switch back to slick cyphers and deep rhymes.

The last two tracks are the Robot Koch and J Rawls remixes of Now. I can honestly say that both remixes are fantastic in their own ways. Often it’s very easy to determine a ‘favourite’ remix of a track when multiples are provided, but this time it feels more like being asked to name a favourite child! Robot Koch’s remix has a warped, glitched out feel to it, with a real banging, hypnotic beat, whilst J Rawls has stripped the track down in a more lo-fi manner – although at the same time he has added a close, nearly claustrophobic warmth to the track, meant in the most positive of ways of course.

Naturally at this point it’s worth mentioning what a fine job Sense has done on the production – it’s ridiculously tight, yet loose in all the right places. I’ve been a fan of his work for a few years now and was delighted when I heard that his crew The Q4 had hooked up with Project Mooncircle. His production on this Numaads material is pretty damn exquisite, it must be said. All the sounds come from the right directions with perfect spacial awareness. When you get all these things right, it more often that not means you end up with something that can be appreciated in ambient settings or played out real loud, either on headphones or through monitors. Ultimately, everything sounds great and the combination between Sense and Esperanzah is delightful.

The Now EP is available both digitally and on 12-inch vinyl from Project Mooncircle right now, but I shall leave you with a stream of the Robot Koch remix of Now, which you can actually download for free via the Project Mooncircle Bandcamp page, and also the video for said track…