In a perfect homage to the mixed-media hypnosis one would find at the start of a lo-fi record in the right instances today, much as it would have a decade ago, “Save Me” starts in a fog of reeling noise and passive pulsations before quickly fading into a charismatic melody, where we’ll stay for the first act of the song. This latest release from the lauded Stringz EMB takes a moment to find its rhythm and, for that matter, the very framework of its construction, but when it reveals the heartfelt harmonies its creator is ready to expose before anyone willing to listen, this single becomes quite the endearing offering. It’s thoroughly surreal, but make no mistake about it; “Save Me” has a lot of soul that bites back when you’re not expecting it.
The harmonies that lend so much of the chills factor to this track start with the instrumental melody and end with Stringz EMB’s vulnerable lead vocal, and with the foundational element in the song being as powerful as it is, you’ve got to marvel at just how grand a performer this man is. He isn’t springing from the bassline and getting a solid boost from behind the mixing board; this is a player who is audibly giving us a relaxed but focused performance with the mic in his hand, and between the cold silence of the booth he’s singing within and the striking glow of the harmonies, he finds quarter in a quiet storm that could seemingly rage on forever here.
Stringz EMB has always impressed me with his detailed production quality, but he’s more experimental with the DIY ethic than he has been in previous cuts. There’s nothing forcedly made to be raw or noisy, but I don’t think he wanted much filtration between the audience and the instrumental componentry, and rightly so. He’s using the pummeling sway of the backdrop to fill so much of the void a lot of other artists would leave unemployed in a radio-friendly single, and as harsh as the sonic undertow gets, there’s never a moment in which “Save Me” doesn’t feel fairly accessible to fans and newcomers alike. That’s not easy to do for anyone, let alone an underground player, and this artist’s rivals could do well to learn from his example.
I like what I’ve been hearing from this rapper so far, and with a little more time to cultivate the specifically surreal parts in his sound, I think he’s going to become one of the more respected experimentalists making melodic music in or outside of his insular scene at the moment. There’s a lot of hesitance to try the untried right now given the fragility of the music business and an uncertain future for alternative hip-hop particularly, but if anyone is going to take a step towards the creatively progressive without caring for what anyone else thinks, I believe it’s going to be this man. Stringz EMB has the style and the centered conceptualism to make some amazing music, and so far he’s yet to disappoint with songs like “Save Me.”
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