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Nothus - Xtreme Radio (Midnight Shift, 2021)

On their latest effort, the ever engaging Midnight Shift imprint turns their attentions to the excellent talent that is Nothus, who delivers to us a spell binding blitz through an array of infused genres which provides an experience that will keep on delivering time and time again.

We live in an era of Dance Music where numerous strains found within its rich lexicon have begun to merge in the most delightful of ways, and this is often down to producers and labels who work within these middling spaces that help to further the progression of the movement. The ultimate gift found within hardware is its unending ability to combine together differing stylings from multiple genres together, but this ability can only be unlocked when the producer utilising it is able to see things just that little bit differently, and thus be able to create music that sounds like no other. Ever since Electronic and Dance music have been a thing, we have seen these morphologies can hold, and in the early days these evolutions felt like seismic shifts that would often birth new genres or sub genres, and as such we remain in awe of these music makers to this day. In the here and now, due to an enormity of records from the past and present being available to us at the drop of a hat, so any form of music which feels like it has grow into itself via the transmission of varying strains taken from differing spaces, then a step is certainly be taken in the right direction. Within this sphere of forward thinkingness, there are a group of producers and labels who are morphing together all manner of sounds, styles and flavours into their own visions of the contemporary and the future, the music often operating within a number of interfaces that persist within the audial universe of Electronic music. The records they release speak of multiple points of interest, from the dizzying highs of melodic expressionism through to the heavy hitting depths of drum and bass, there's plenty to go on if you need your fix of genre pushing and outwardly expanding soundscapes. The sheer amount of this kind of experimentation that occurs means that we are blessed with music that sounds original and diverse, even as it comes towards us from multiple sources, with each line of inquiry always showcasing to us another angle that becomes almost owned by that producer or that label. Its a testament perhaps to the ways in which producers have responded to the wide ranging availability of music today that we have reached a point where merging sounds together almost seems second nature, and its certainly a reference point for people who seek out records and ideologies that push the limits of what music is capable of. This kind of audial language has become very much a sign of the times, and as more and more releases continue to come our way in this regard, the future continues to smile kindly and feel fresh, bountiful and full of life. Who knows what might come round the corner next, but the anticipation is always going to be high.

A producer who has certainly captured this sense of excitement through their music is Italian producer Nothus, who for some time now has been wowing listeners with his deftly balanced approach to rhythm, groove and melody. Since his debut back in 2016, Nothus has showcased his vision of music via a number of differing groups and aliases, with each strain highlighting a particular passion or set of passions. And whilst each alias might focus inherently on a certain sound, there are plenty of feelings injected from other genres which really help to elevate his music into the realms of the deeply interesting, as much of his discography will attest to. Its an approach that has served dividends and highlights an enormity about how Nothus approaches the music making process, in that he seems firmly in control of the overarching vision that binds his soundscapes together, and that he remains unafraid to explore the furtherest reaches of these concepts. When you listen in to one of his records, there's a profound sense of satisfaction that builds from the off and remains present right throughout the experience, never waining for one moment as he looks to fill his tracks with plenty of elemental interests and intriguing audial notions. Whatever style might be the overarching guide, there's so much more to the music than simply labelling it Electro, or Techno, or Jungle, because there's a plethora of other stylistic and musical undercurrents being played out right in front of our eyes. As such, Nothus has developed into one of the most exciting producers in the current era, with his capabilities outlined in his fantastic releases for all to see, and when such a broad reaching vision has been preached from the word go, the sky remains the limit for his future endeavours, no matter what they might be. Not only is his own music a sight to behold, but his label XCPT, which he founded with frequent collaborator Delikwe, has been setting numerous benchmarks since its inception back in 2016, and is also well worth checking out if you enjoy the finer things in electrical morphologies. From Nothus' discography there is plenty to highlight not just within this alias but from his other projects, starting off with the mighty fine trio of records released by the Late Night Approach group, 'Clarence Mews' (2017), 'Barefoot Agna Serra Venerdi' (2019) and 'The Naus Investigation' (2020), with these records all showcasing a superb approach to crafting head down, feet moving Electro. He also served up an excellent Electro Breakbeat Jungle (you name it) cut on the 'Secret Rave 04' record, entitled 'Oltremanica', which was released under the Los Malpelos name back in 2019. Earlier this year, he released a truly extraordinary Junglist record, 'Sativa Trax', which arrived via the Sativa Club alias, and is a go to for anyone searching for Jungle and D'n'B dipped in futurism orientated angles and sounds. Finally, from the Nothus name, be sure to check out the Techno gem 'Fragments of Loneliness' from 2016, and the dubby and melodically intriguing 'ARCHIVEBGR293' record from 2017, which he released alongside Delikwe. There are plenty of features from Nothus on a number of records on XCPT, so go check out the label's discography for sure to listen to these. In all, there is much to celebrate within the mind of Nothus and his wide reaching sound, simply because the man sees things in his head that provide imaginative elements to fall into place that really elevate the music into exciting places indeed. His ability of crafting space for evolution remains a cornerstone of his sound, as progressions take off and land with a trajectory that touches upon a beautiful spectrum of melody, rhythm and feel, and after leaving one of his records behind you really do feel like you have seen it all. There's so much to explore within his music, and its a discography of works that we cannot recommend enough, so why not go and try it out for yourself - there's plenty of escapism to be had.

And now we arrive at his latest effort, 'Xtreme Radio', which lands via the ever impressive Midnight Shift label. On perhaps his most genre blending effort yet, Nothus conjures up a series of soundscapes that, as always, only help to further the broadness of his scope, with the beats coming thick and fast and the melodies pushing themselves to their absolute limits. The bass remains a consistent feature throughout, as the contents of the tracks merge from Dubstep to Bass, Techno to Breaks, and back round again, with the flow from one scene to the next really capturing the imagination. The execution is flawless as per usual, with his dazzling technique shining through from every corner, as we sit back in awe and simply allow ourselves to be taken away to the most intriguing of near-future spaces. Its a record that speaks to us on multiple levels, its progression immediately impressing but as always with his works, its the elements found in the small spaces that add so much detail to the world being created, and as an experience it is one that merits coming back to time and time again. Lying adrift in a sea of boundless bass, melody and rhythm, Nothus always finds a way to turn the tides and guide us into fresh waters, the endless horizon teeming with objects and sequences for us to become totally absorbed within. And so, on that note, lets dive into this revealing and deeply immersive piece of music, that appeals to the dance as much as it does to the deep thoughts we have at home.....

To kick things off we have ‘High Tea Clownz’, and this one starts off with the far away chimes to get us in the groove. The illusion of distance is shattered as the big old boom clatters its way into the mix, which helps to create this incredible sense of depth within the mix, as melodic elements flicker and scuttle their way within the backdrop. The drums hit with purpose and direction, with this intent really showcased as the melodic elements move away from the blend to leave just the percussive features, but before long the keys start to be drip fed back into the ensemble. There’s one final switch in texture that sees the keys drop out once more to leave us with the drums, as further effects are placed within their structure which really gives them a sense of oomph. What an opener that was. `Up next comes ‘Metal Gear Chronicles’, and this one begins with rumbling percussive nodes and crunchy claps. The way in which the drums swing and swerve between differing densities and sensory applications is really inspired, with so much detail placed within how they hit the ground we stand upon. Light melodic elements come into the picture around this point, with the climax of these introductions coming when the bass really takes hold, with all the other elements stepping back to give this element as much space as possible. With its Dubstep orientated solidness, the bass then leads the track into a sequence that will surely shake and pound the room you find yourself within, with metallic vocal samples moving in and out of time within the top layers. Around the half way mark is when the dubstep feels really do become all encompassing, with a multitude of layers arriving to really take the dance to some weird and wonderful places, and this sequence is when the mood of the track shifts once again. The beat returns, this time in a sort of half time drum and bass kind of rhythm, with the melodics and basses from before slotting in perfectly to this new contrasting flow. The track continues to take all the time it needs in moving the listener all around the pan, with this approach meaning we get to know all the aspects being portrayed to us. There’s still time for plenty of crunch, textural overloads and density destroyers, as our heads become filled with all kinds of tectonic shifts, titanium gear shifts and seismic rumbles going off in all directions. Special stuff, this one.

Up next comes ‘Le Segrete’, and this one begins in similar territories to the previous cut. The kicks hit incredibly hard amongst a sea of enveloping and unravelling melodics, which really don’t give much away save for adding in little paint brush strokes here and there, but it all falls away around the minute mark. Classic Junglist samples ring out with the sparse vacuum, but in time this area gets filled to the brim with some impressively balanced elements, such as the skipping beat beat, the deep rumbling bass line, and the glitchy key sequences which jump about on top, with Nothus always keeping an eye on how these elements could transition at the drop of a hat. This occurs quite brilliantly when the mixture suddenly drops into a solid as hell drumming structure, as the listener is whisked away to realms that point in all kinds of directions. The track makes sure to take breaths, with this occurring significantly around the 3:30 mark, which sees the drums move away to reveal just the bedrock of the melody, filled with solid lines and pads, but the four floor vibe returns soon after to carry us away into the horizon line. The little touches that made the initial sequences so enjoyable are still very much present and correct as we continue to push through the track’s time frame, and you get the feeling that even as things end, there’s still so much more here to enjoy and revel within via repeat listens. Top draw stuff, this one. ‘Sesso Orazio’, which features Delikwe, arrives next, and this one begins in a subtle space indeed. The sonics ride and gleam across a spectrum of space and time, keeping us on our toes as we search constantly for presence and meaning within the murkiness, and lo and behold clarity comes and rips us away in the form of the stunning deep breakbeat pattern that comes into view. This groove is the most clear cut yet, with plenty of space given to new elements to drive their way into the mix, as layer upon layer of melody grinds its way through a highly pressured series of subspaces. Its a head nodder for sure, as the listener is allowed free reign to mov through the layers in order to get to know the layers, the densities, the spaces and the places, and its all just so wonderful. The ways in which we move from one structure to the next is handled expertly, with the transition points so very smooth and joyous to the ears. Its yet another triumphant flow through the gears on this cut, superb stuff. To wrap things up, we have ‘Dirty Indi Internet’, and this one begins with the drones and the light sweeps to kick things off. The lone vocal sample calls out across the glades, as reverbed elements skip across the gently undulating scene, with the serenity being set in place creating the perfect climate for a monumental transition to come into view. This occurs as the track switches it up in terms of rhythm and textural density, with the drums injecting this jungliest kind of vibe as the tones of the melody remain persistent throughout, as vocal samples continue to make their way into the blends as time passes by. The track then moves into another direction, focusing more so on its sub level elements which move from slow and steady into hyper drive in a second’s notice, and its a final reminder of the power that this record contains all over the shop. Variety and transitioning between one style to the next is in its blood, and its a feeling that we can always come back to time and time again and appreciate it for what it is. Mind bending stuff, all the way through.

There are many artists engaged with what tomorrow might sound like, and more often than not it is those musicians who seek to blend and merge the many interfaces that persist within Electronic Music. These glimpses behind the curtain appear all over, and Nothus is definitely up there with the truly remarkable layer of producers who manage so well to distill a multitude of sounds down and forge their own identities from the mix. He has already shown a knack for injecting well known genre tropes with intelligent nods to other veins of musical expressionism, and on this new record he really pushes the boat out in exploring a new set of perameters, and the results are, as always, superb. From the word go we are treated to an onslaught of highly creative soundscapes that blend power with purpose, intricacy with delicate notions, and progression with all manner of hybridisation, all set within a ever shifting series of structures that do much to keep us locked in from start to finish. Each track acts as a vortex that ensnares us, allowing us to pass safely through collages put together with only the finest level of detail, as Nothus then aims to help us pass along into the next series of pictures. Visceral, highly engrossing and captivating to the extreme, its a record of such audial triumph and mastery, and we cannot recommend it enough to you all.

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