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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/04/2012

Nightwave Festivus EP

The UK's Nightwave isn't an artist who's shy about goofing around. After all, her latest EP, Festivus, takes its name from an invented holiday that was first introduced to the masses via Seinfeld. That being said, its four tracks, while playful and upbeat, do display some real production chops.

At this point, Nightwave isn't an artist who can be pinned down to any one genre in particular, a trend that continues on Festivus. Although she does hail from the world of "bass music," her recent output has incorporated elements of house, techno, grime, dubstep, juke, and more. Whether she's suffering from a case of stylistic ADD or is simply still looking for a sonic niche to call her own, her evolution remains interesting to document. The EP's title track is probably the strongest of its offerings, a simultaneously woozy and propulsive dancefloor cut that pairs hyperactive drum programming and shuffling rhythms with soaring synth melodies and the requisite chopped R&B vocal bits. While the drums are a bit mushy and "Festivus" may not be the most original tune, it does have a real sort of dreamy charm.

A similar sense pervades "Jazz312," another EP standout that finds Nightwave upping the tempo and delving into juke. While many bass-music producers tend to create overworked and unnecessarily complex tracks when experimenting with footwork, Nightwave smartly keeps things simple, constructing a straightforward beat and peppering it with dreamy Rhodes melodies. A horn lead and chopped vocal snippets also find their way into the proceedings, but things never sound too busy or anxious.

"Jeff the Dolphin" is an interesting creation, a track that utilizes tropical drum sounds and a wonky sort of walking bassline. This type of leftfield grime exploration is to be encouraged, but the end result, while more than passable, isn't the most memorable. "Heart Bit" suffers a similar fate while traversing a hybrid territory incorporating crunchy 8-bit melodies and a stop-and-start dancehall beat. Again, the track is inventive, but lacks enough hooks to stick in the listener's head.

Overall, the Festivus EP is a solid effort from Nightwave. As she continues to release music, there's not much question as to her talent and capacity to come up with playfully creative ideas. If anything, it's her execution and songwriting that are still developing, and, for now, we're willing to keep listening until they fully blossom.

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