Welcome to the inaugural edition of Uproar, a dynamic space where music meets movement. In a world brimming with diverse voices and stories, music has long been the most powerful platform for addressing issues both within ourselves and in the world around us. Through this series, we aim to dissect and celebrate music that drives conversations, challenges standards, and pushes for progress through introspective lyricism, or simply through the nature of its inception.
The central theme found throughout the album is duality; a theme which you are immediately faced with both on the cover art, where android depictions of Adam & Eve surround themselves with the same old vices from the dawn of humanity; a future juxtaposing old and new. Within Master System's soundscape, the future harmoniously coexists with echoes of the past, flooded with wailing future synth chords and distant analog instrumentation.
Through vocals and instrumentation alike, the album resonates with the notion that the future isn't sterile and pristine but rather an accumulation of the history that preceded it, akin to popular visual adaptations of the future found in other contemporary works like Blade Runner 2049 and Cyberpunk 2077. Ultimately, this concept is developed throughout the album not with a commentary on visceral products of humanity, but instead to highlight the idea of duality within ourselves, and how our future selves embody this distinct duality—one embracing both the raw edges of our past and the idealistic facade we strive to project.
The concept of escapism is consolidated through the cinematic breaks in the album, which feature an android-like voice often referencing the theme of virtual reality.
The listener is asked to reconsider - are such technological advancements just glorified renditions of the apple from Adam and Eve's tale, are they worse even?
Master System's exploration delves further into identity, relationships and transformation. In introductory track Widow, voids in the expansive instrumental are met with lyrics on family dynamics, drug abuse and various callbacks:
"One set of keys on the table / midwife crisis, midlife / Had a breakdown like key to a eight ball / These days Adam ain't even faithful / But Eve and Adam had even odds"
Master System is a genre-fusion which follows suit in Master Florence's discography, paving a refreshing path through the world of British music, whilst bringing in some unlikely features from solidified British icons like Miles Kane and now John Cooper Clarke. The group seamlessly switches between frank spoken word reminiscent of The Streets, to vibrant jazz breaks, into grime flows that sound like they're straight from Stormzy's 'Dreamers Disease'.
Next up is the newest instalment from London born rapper/producer Nix Northwest: Xin's Disappearance. This album rests upon the building block that was 2019's Life's a Bitch, I Just Need an Early Night, a project which showcased the artist's ability to tell captivating stories over the top of disjointed lo-fi jazz beats. It was only a matter of time before a UK artist took advantage of the genre, which seems to be gaining endless traction on platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud. Nix seems to transition from more of a lo-fi sound into clearer mixes of jazz and R&B, likely a showcase of his evolving ability as a multi-instrumentalist.
Like his album prior, Xin's Disappearance offers a personal insight into Nix's journey of self-discovery and growth, only this time doing so in a way that seems so carefree and yet so purposefully thematic, but most importantly: more positive. No shortcuts are taken on Nix's journey, with clearly labelled introductions and interludes throughout the 15 song cut sounding like they could have been a single.
Nix never shied away from describing his endeavours with the ladies before, but instead of purely material escapades, throughout the album Nix invites the idea of one joining him on his metaphorical journey of improvement:
"Good morning my darling come and hop in the whip / This candy-pink Cadillac matching your lips"
Major highlights of the album come when Nix transitions from verse breaks into booming rhythmic ballads such as in 'One Way ticket'. The first song post-intro, which does a good job at introducing the themes to come in the album, such as the pursuit of inner peace and happiness:
Welcome breaks from faster, joyful ballads come with more sombre, mellow takes like 'The Occasional L'; though no matter the slower pace, the song marks one of the optimistic points in the album, and quickly back transitions upbeat, sharp synth chords on 'Sun In My Eyes'.
Each instalment of Uproar will be based around a playlist (available on Spotify only for now) which will include the highlights from the projects showcased as well as other new music. This month's playlist revolves around a Jazz-fusion theme, and includes major artists like King Krule, with his new album 'Space Heavy', and James Blake with his new single 'Loading' who provide some slower breaks to pace the playlist whilst still maintaining the theme.
Other highlights include Barney Artist's new EP humbly labelled 'Just, my demos...', which fuses jazz and atmospheric trap beats in a way that sounds far too sophisticated to just be demos... As well as a couple contemporary electronic cuts from Nia Archives (featuring Maverick Sabre) and Mount Kimbie & Kai Campos.
For those who simply aren't a fan of the genres showcased in UPROAR 001, you can look forward to changes in the theme of the playlist week-by-week, as well as some special editions which delve into history. All of your input and support is forever appreciated, and you can let us know via Instagram comments or messaging what you think, or what you'd like to see in the upcoming instalments @AnswersUK.