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Gerwin & Nuage - Lying Portraits Ft. 2Shy / Soul Truth

Gerwin & Nuage – Lying Portraits Ft. 2Shy / Soul Truth
Jack Smith

Ushering in a new breed of talented unknowns since its inception in 2009, the Parisian-based IM:LTD has always remained slightly off-kilter not only in terms of output but also approach with a truly multinational roster of artists and some of the most unique pieces of cartoon-like, strikingly simplistic artwork in the game. It seemed only a matter of time before two of Europe’s most exciting emerging artists of recent years, Gerwin and Nuage, would fall in step with the label’s modus operandi, and with ‘Lying Portraits ft. 2Shy’ / ‘Soul Truth’ what we’re witnessing here is a real fruition of raw musical ability.

Opening with chiming guitar licks and fluttering piano chords, ‘Soul Truth’ immediately establishes Gerwin’s excellence in sound isolation, with each part holding its own within an altogether sparse arrangement. Highlighting the trademark marriage of light atmosphere and deep sub-work that the producer seems to have adopted so effortlessly, ‘Soul Truth’ is an exercise in focused simplicity in which we can hear a substantial upgrade within its sub-level work – the only element lacking in Gerwin’s early repertoire, but with this set of tracks it is clear his jack-of-all-trades approach is reaping dividends.

‘Lying Portraits’ represents the slow burner compared with the former, again proving the artists’ quality in subtlety by defying categorisation – is this liquid, or deep, or even a stepper? There’s a real jazz-club feel with on-off woodwind stabs and a spiral descent, unforced brass workout flitting within the arrangement. Nuage’s adeptness in concentrated atmosphere also comes to the fore here with twinkling chimes and Bukem-era synth-work, whilst 2Shy’s appearance surprisingly doesn’t seem out of place considering this unlikely pairing of producers and lyricist.

What remains intriguing is watching talent blossom as a fan. Looking back at Gerwin’s earlier tracks such as Show Them and Tiny Little Lies Consequences (both free downloads which need picking up if you haven’t done so already) seems like an exercise in layer removal, like a musical representation of Peter Molyneux’s handheld app Curiosity: dig a little bit deeper, go a little further back and you can hear the talent in all its unembellished yet unbridled glory. On a side note, this isn’t necessarily Gerwin’s fault but with Show Them in particular Form’s bars flow silky smooth before dropping off a tad, falling slightly out of line with the mood set by Gerwin’s production – not quite the finished package but it’s definitely there… And then in winter 2012 it’s this coming together of elements as time has progressed, the simple beauty in a staggered kick-snare or an articulate, progressional hi-hat arrangement – looking particularly at Soul Truth – that makes it a particularly satisfying listen. Gerwin paired with IM:LTD, the ‘French Connection’ so to speak, is a precise example of studied music progression, for both artist and label, which is a rare treat in a genre that can be at times frustratingly slow in ‘moving on’ from its self-inflicted lack of creativity.

Gerwin & Nuage – ‘Lying Portraits Ft. 2Shy’ / ‘Soul Truth’ is out now. Get yours via Chemical Records.

We also strongly recommend you take a look at the IM:LTD’s retrospective compilation ‘Rise of the Under Dogs’ in celebration of four years in the game. Long may it continue!


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