Klem – Aesthetic EP1 – EP Review
Can’t knock the side-hustle yo!
Ryan Klem…aka Klem…this is a guy that gets it. As far as I can tell & what I’ve read, the dude’s a musical multi-talent of all kinds from his own stuff to producing other people’s material – and the collaborative spirit is really strong with this one. We know that a bit firsthand from checking out the lead-single from Aesthetic EP1 when Klem got an assist from rapper Rino leading the way on the bars verbally on “The Truth.” And for what it’s worth, it was clear that Klem was not only on solid ground, but building steam towards the release of the full EP, which has him collaborating with a whole bunch of emcees in what’s essentially a side-project he’s been working on…or at least for now. When things turn out this solid all-around and the support, love, and excitement start rollin’ in on him for this effort – things might change. You just never know where life will take you, your art, your music…this side-gig could become his main hustle – he’ll flex a ton of skills as a producer throughout the cuts on Aesthetic EP1 and fully proves he’s just as much of a force behind the studio boards as he is in front of them…it might just be his calling.
Everything starts going right immediately. The smooth sounds of the atmospheric music created by Klem slowly fills up your speakers as it builds towards the beat & infusion of low-end just around the corner. Musically, just like we experienced with Klem’s music on “The Truth” back in July, this is 100% nailed – everything is so impressively defined, clean, bold, and crystal-clear as you listen to “Aesthetic” start up the EP. Vocally, this is equally dope on all-fronts – Nekro G puts in an inspired performance on the mic, rhythmically rollin’ through the hooks and making the most of every moment. Now…the last thing I’d ever say is that this record is front-loaded…you’ll find that every emcee on the mic and the music throughout Aesthetic EP1 are continually high-caliber and killer to listen to – BUT…there IS a good chance that this first cut is the most accessible & single-worthy tune on the EP that would bring the people in. “Aesthetic” is just freakin’ enticing to listen at every single moment, straight-up, full-stop – the music is tight, chilled AF like something from Board Of Canada with tons of warm glow in the sound and a crisp snare snap to keep the beat kickin’ it throughout. All this sets up Nekro G to make his moves – and this dude squeezes every drop of rhythm out of these rhymes that an emcee could possibly get – amazing tone in his voice and made skills on the mic – he makes a huge difference on this opening cut and helps lead Klem to a completely successful first impression that sounds all-around on-point, 100%. And for real people – LISTEN to the ART of the wordsmith in full-effect – “Aesthetic” isn’t just stylistically designed to flow slickly through your speakers – it WILL – but recognize the amount of skill that’s been put into the actual lyricism and how much of our history and pop culture has been put into this. Believe me – it might be that smooth-smooth rhythm & flow you’ll notice at first, but once you get into the words of this cut, you’ll really notice just how 100% next-level Nekro G is when it comes to the writing.
You’ll be able to check this record out via the Spotify link down below & all…but while I was out trolling the internet seeing what was up with this EP and what else I could find out about it – I came across this…it’s an early instrumental mix of “Aesthetic” – have a listen to this & try to tell yourself you ain’t excited to hear more – you know you want some! You’ll hear it was a great cut to begin with…and when you get to the official release and hear the record-version, you’ll hear exactly how Nekro G took this to the next-level & beyond with the wicked moves he makes on the m-i-c.
“GBA DNA” proves that what you’ll hear vocally on this record is every bit as enticing as the beats & music are – S-Class comes in with genuine swagger on the m-i-c, flexing a classic Hip-Hop vibe that’s 100% on the money. Second track in, second powerful emcee, second style & approach altogether – the cohesion between these cuts will mainly come from Klem’s ideas in production and the fact he’s got someone rappin’ on each song – but when it comes to the direction of the vocals and what you’ll find there, you’ll discover that each emcee brings their own style, sound, and perspective into the mix. Klem will keep’em comin’ atcha – that’s what I’m sayin; as much as you might dig what S-Class or Nekro G bring to the mic, there’s every bit as much reason to love Rep, Keybeaux, and Rino still comin’ up. Much like you’ll find on “Aesthetic” just prior, it’s all about how much character & charisma these emcees are bringing to this record from track-to-track as they pass the mic between them for the lead in each cut; personality, skill, and style like you hear in S-Class don’t just come along every day – Klem’s made some killer choices on who to include, and those that showed up, showed up with their A-game, no doubt. Slick sound from beginning to end here…amazing bass, great beat, smart elements like the guitar tones soaring through the mix & elevating the melody while S-Class gives you a first-class experience in real Hip-Hop style. Listen to moments like around the two-minute mark though, once S-Class is finished doing his thang and he’s made his mark – Klem riffs it up on the bass, then switches this cut in what’s likely the most impressive transition & largest departure from the original sound of a song to a new one that you’ll find on this record. The piano melody is perfection, the mixing it up with the effects & stretching of S-Class’ vocals was a killer idea…all-in-all, I love this final move made on “GBA DNA” and feel like the inventive ending this song has over its final minute or so really brought an extra layer of magic to a track that already had it all goin’ on.
“I’m Gone” is a tough track to write about…every time I start a sentence, the track is nearly over already! And I ain’t gonna lie to ya, I’d take a few minutes more of this no problemo. Wavy sound yo! “I’m Gone” is a quick trip from point-A to B…the sound is ill, the performance from Rep moves slickly as he hits the bars with style & speed. For less than ninety-seconds, it’s like we’re running firmly in place as this cut surrounds you with its warm & glowing sound and Rep does verbal laps around the track while we stand there listening. I’ll say this…for less than a minute & a half in length – it’s rare to be this addicted to song as I am with this one…there’s just not a move out of place for a solitary second of this cut and Rep sounds awesome as he rolls through these bars. Seriously rad contrast in this tune – that effect of how the sound seems to move so slowly & controlled in its hazy vibe surrounding the vocals as they rip full-speed into the mic creates a completely intoxicating sound that is as wild as it is smooth. Can’t ask more from Klem here – the music is tight as tight can be; same goes for Rep, the man unleashes an army of words – but clearly, precisely, and professionally…the dude is dope & the skills are sharp. Between the two of them, they show you what makes ninety seconds worth of music worth listening closely to…”I’m Gone” flies by quickly, but it’s always a welcome cut to hear again when you’re repeating Aesthetic EP1 that you’ll always wanna turn right up.
The closest I came to questioning Klem was with “Feeling Lost” – I still think it’s a great song, just perhaps a bit more involved, artistic, maybe a degree or two less accessible than the surrounding cuts – none of that’s a big deal at all, just facts on the way people hear music. Ultimately, “Feeling Lost” has one of the more defined vibes on the record…there’s a uniqueness to this cut that’ll take a few spins to latch onto fully, which again, is more than fine – that’s what you call a reason to return. If anything, I think this particular cut and part of why it might be slightly harder to accept at first comes down to placement…I think I might have actually gone with this first to be truthful. I think the way that it picks up in pace & intensity around the ninety-second mark, then after it’s hit its peak, starts that smooth decent & deconstruction to the end might have made an impact as an introduction of sorts to Aesthetic EP1, then droppin’ right into “Aesthetic” to entice people in even further. Might just be me…that’s how I’m hearing it…because otherwise, I can’t quite put my finger on what’s up…I think Keybeaux does a great job and has a ton of charisma & energy in the way he approaches the ol’ m-i-c – I mean, straight-up you can hear easily that this is an extremely gifted emcee. Musically, I think it’s just as on-point as anything else Klem has mixed together for us over there in his lab…I think that there’s perhaps just a real ‘intro-esque’ style of a build to the way “Feeling Lost” moves…which admittedly, does set up the lead-single and final cut “The Truth” up solidly for success as well, because it kind of resets the vibe for us. Structure-wise, songwriting & art-wise though…there might just be an argument to be made for “Feeling Lost” being the unsung hero of this record; it really brings something different & unique from the rest.
I was stoked to hear “The Truth” again…it’s been a minute, and it’s a great tune. This EP as a whole, is a freakin’ great addition to 2018 – and significant – this is all the proof your ears should need to convince you that collaboration is always a great idea. I mean…you know…it’s always a great idea in terms of your art and your own creative evolution…don’t go expecting that just because you pull in a guest-star that you’ll get results as good as you’ll find on Aesthetic EP1 – this is an example of everything working out right…which speaks just as much to the dedication in the performances & production from all involved. Branching out in your art or your music can be a tough thing to do…and even though I have the feeling that Ryan’s one of those rare types that has no problem reaching out collaborating, celebrating that creative freedom in music & gettin’ it done with his homies here…I’d still have to imagine that hearing this record back through the headphones would be all the encouragement he’d need to want to continue down a path like this. Take “The Truth” for example…I mean no joke, this track aged like a fine wine y’all…I liked it before, but here in the context of this record full of guest-stars and inspired performances, it was like welcoming back a long lost friend with a huge high-five & a smile. Because, like…I mean, c’mon – that keyboard melody that creeps in around 1:15? Please people – that’s got so much jazzy swagger to it that I can hardly contain myself…and if it wasn’t for the magic from about 1:50 on-forward with the bass, guitars, and drums as the creativity in the mix & music continue to evolve even more, I’d probably still be here preaching about that keyboard melody and how short, sweet, and effective that one moment is. Klem never overplays his hand…he gives you plenty to listen to without any awkward transitions & certainly no fears of getting bored…dude knows what makes sound WORK – and he makes it work real well. Rino sounds right into it too – I dig that you can really hear the emcee is in the moment here and fully focused, ready to deliver – and he does, with confidence and genuine swagger. Definitely a smart move to include this pre-released cut on the official EP, “The Truth” elevates the energy one final time before Aesthetic EP1 finishes off, leaving us with a final impression that’ll definitely bring you back to repeat the whole experience all over again. And if that ain’t what a final cut should always be about, I just don’t know what is! Make sure to read my previous thoughts on “The Truth” when it was reviewed earlier in the year by clicking right here – and visit the official pages below to find out more about Klem & listen to the new EP.
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