Leeds duo The NorthaZe have built a name that is hot on the lips of followers of the WY scene and further afield, with a series of projects that highlight the group’s unique trippy and futuristic sound. Their latest nine track project is ‘Mellow Thrills’, which is distributed through Blah Records, and serves as a refined, succinct package of The NorthaZe’s left-field influenced, refreshingly eclectic brand of hip-hop.
The crisp, spacious opener ‘Merry Go Round’ features the characteristic up-tempo, percussive and stream of consciousness writing that The NorthaZe have developed over their previous releases. With evocative, jazzy keys and experimental vocal samples laced over a simplistic drum pattern, Swish and Kosi Tides demonstrate their unique, complex flows, moving all over the beat with effortless fluidity. ‘Volume 8’, which dropped alongside an excellent visual on YouTube, is one of the highlights of the project; the left-field, chilled production courtesy of Jatce is a perfect flip side to the rapid-fire MCing from the Leeds duo.
It’s hard to give the style exemplified on this project a name, something along the lines of “intelligent trap” springs to mind; the intense ‘Burgundy’ features sparse percussion, thumping kicks and snares and stoned out verses from the two spitters. The chilled ‘Peach Beach’ is a standout too; the samples flipped across the ‘Mellow Thrills’ project are refreshing, as are the rhyme patterns and flows, resulting in an atmospheric, cohesive listen. ‘Dreams’ continues with the electronic direction outlined on ‘Volume 8’, with dreamy synth lines comprising the majority of the beat. Swish and Kosi flow with complexity and clarity, as they do for the entirety of the nine track project.
‘Mellow Thrills’ is a fresh collection of tracks with real continuity across the project; it’s great to se Blah reaching out to an up and coming duo, who are still very much developing their brand and their sound. Swish and Kosi Tides have obvious chemistry, and they spit on beats that match the vibe of their content, and the whole package is executed impeccably. I’m sure they have something else planned for the not too distant future, and for their first major step, there isn’t even a hint of a falter.
By Sam Bennett