The ultimate Melbourne duo, rapper Tom Kwan and producer Stay Nice have recently joined forces to form their fresh point of expression, Soul Language. After two years in the studio, the pair have certainly established their own unique urban sound. Merging emotive electronics, progressive percussion, the beauty of brass and one hell of a hip-hop groove, Soul Language is steadfastly making their mark on the Melbourne city.

Whipping their EP immediately into shape, title-track ‘Whaddup Life’ featuring Lauren Glezer is an instrumental dream. From a delightfully delicate piano melody and a sultry saxophone section to a pulsing electronic percussion, the track weaves in and out like a welcomed wave. Dealing with meeting life and death head on, Kwan’s raw and regal rap is a hopeful hip-hop homage to making “the most of this limited time”. Asking “Whaddup life? Do you want to be my friend?”, it’s clear the two are embracing everything the world has to offer, including the lovely lyrical coverage of Lauren Glezer. Blending into the tune is the female vocalist’s virtually hypnotic tones as she breathes out “Be my family, my friend, live this life to the end”.

Kicking up the tempo for the second single, ‘Who Plugged Ya’ featuring Tumi The Be is a much more urban outfit. Slick vocals and a stepping, riff-reminiscent electronic beat wrap the listener around their tapping fingertip. With a rolling rhythm, the winner on this one is easily the effortless sound of the two virtuoso vocalists. Asking audiences “DVDs, MP3s, USBs, screens full of empty dreams, envy green, eyes on the MVP, should you really want to be the guy on MTV?” there’s no denying that the track has a definite direction. Pausing midway to “connect up“, Soul Language have produced quite the dynamic query-fuelled tune.

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“Soul Language’s conception and complexity exceeds expectations immediately.”

 

Moving on ‘A Lil Bit’, Soul Language introduces the “plugged in” theme throughout their third track, creating quite a conceptual record. Leaving behind a featuring artist, the duo’s production proves that the two of them provide more than enough to entertain. Chatting about the construction of the mind and “touching a person’s life with a song”, Kwan’s lyrical content is the result of an established energy between the pair. In ‘One’s Enuff’, listeners will be drawn to what it means to Stay Nice. As a high-pitched vocal doo-whoops in the background, a funky rhythm and a catchy chorus soaks into the skin, resulting in an uncontrollable, casually cool head-bop and undeniable dancing hips.

‘Truth Sells’ speaks for itself, acting as controversial commentary from the Melbourne men. With multiple elements to embrace, listeners are able to take a close look into the many beliefs of the duo. ‘Best You Can’ brings in what can only be described as oriental sounding strings, an entirely new element for Soul Language’s debut release. Incredibly intriguing, the introduction will have listeners leaning in to pick up on each and every particular piece of the musical arrangement. Sliding into a slinky synth, the tune takes a turn into an expected downbeat and a depth of surprising levels. Singing, “God damn, you’re just trying to do the very best you can, nothing but the best the best you can, but it takes so much just to get up and stand, muscles in a jam while juggling your plans” the song touches on the struggle of multiple sclerosis. Much more than ‘just another Melbourne act’, Soul Language’s conception and complexity exceeds expectations immediately.

Closing the construct with a very down-to-earth ‘Outro’, the outrageous talents spend just under two minutes spitting lines, telling silly stories and humbly thanking their faithful followers and unwavering supporters. An often unheard of addition to a record, the track is not only enjoyable but also understandably appreciated.

Whaddup Life? EP is due out for release on the 8th April. 

8/10