Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, artist and producer No3tic has released his newest EP, Fields. His love for the arts transcends beyond music, incorporating styles of film into his sounds and videos to create cinematographic experiences from the production to the visuals. With inspiration from artists such as Kanye West, Drake, The Weeknd, Tame Impala, and Radiohead, he creates unconventional art that can still appeal to mainstream radio while taking risks to create sounds that surprise the listener.
Right off the bat, I love the fact that the EP is only 9 songs. I’m so sorry to those of you who pay me to review your music, but there’s no need for a 25-track album. If I get exhausted listening to a Busta Rhymes project that’s 30 songs, chances are I’m going to be even more frustrated when you do it and I want to give you my full, undivided attention. As an upcoming artist, 8-12 songs is the perfect length to keep my attention while making me want more. With that being said, this is just my personal preference; do whatever feels right for your brand as an artist. It isn’t one size fits all, and if you have something revolutionary that’s 20 songs, do what you gotta do. Just make sure the length is justifiable and doesn’t get repetitive.
The first track, “Xtra”, begins with audio clippings from news reports throughout 2020. The very first thing you hear is commentary on Kobe Bryant’s tragic death right before it transitions into reports about Covid-19 and other notable events. No3tic also includes clips about climate change and police brutality, as well as other unexpected celebrity deaths like Chadwick Boseman. This was a very influential way to start the EP, especially as I personally tend to forget just all of the horrible things that happened in the span of one year. Although it starts the project on a more morose note, you already feel connected to the artist, relating to the pain that’s been caused by all of these unfortunate events. The subtle transition from the news clips into the production is gradual and effective, and the lyrical content relates back to the news clips in a way that describes 2020 as a strange dystopia, relating it to pop culture favorites such as The Truman Show and Jordan Peele. The production is a light trap beat, delicate enough to fit the tone of the track without being too heavy. However, the bridge and chorus are what really pique my interest, taking on a more melodic tone before No3tic repeats the line, “xtra, xtra, oh I need an xtra.” It was an interesting play on words and I do love the way it works with the news clips that open up the track.
The production in “Out Of Mind” transitions really well from the first song. It’s extremely melodic and continues the tone of the EP while sounding different enough from the first track. It’s the first track from the EP that really reminds me of Kid Cudi, something I mention quite a few times throughout this EP, from the singing to the choppy, short rapping. I like the way that he outlines his routine from start to finish, but I think considering the year that we’ve had and the decision to incorporate it in the first track paired with the Kid Cudi sounds, it would have been cool to hear something a bit darker; something that exposes his inner demons a bit more. It would have worked really well with the news clips from the previous track as well. However, I love the imagery of how his soul shines in the nighttime, but I think maybe contrasting that with the current state of affairs or emphasizing how much strength it requires to get to that point would do more to showcase the skill and ability that No3tic possesses. Although, I must admit that the more I listen to the song, the more the production grows on me; that little bit of guitar is a beautiful touch.
The moment that “Rowdy” started playing, I fell in love with the production. Because of my background as a percussionist, I have a soft spot for mallet percussion, and truly feel it does not get utilized enough, so to hear that over a more trappy beat was really cool. The production is also super dynamic in comparison to the first two tracks, definitely taking a few different turns within the first minute. I like No3tic’s flow on this one a lot, too. I love this sort of lazy drawl he has going on; it works to showcase the production while still showing his lyricism, and the Southern bounce of the beat keeps it interesting. The little bits of melody layered over the percussion works really well with it to add another dimension. He really found a way to work with this funky production and I love it. I don’t think there’s anything super intricate in terms of the lyrics, but it’s catchy and I don’t think that needs to be the focus of the track. The last minute of the production is wild, and his incorporation of the record scratching is wicked. This is probably my favorite track of the EP so far.
I liked the transition from “Rowdy” to “True” just because I loved that opening bit and how abrupt the change in tempos was, but the song lost me a bit quickly. I think it’s a pretty standard track with solid production, but I don’t think it was anything stand-out, especially following “Rowdy”. It’s catchy, but I’m not personally a fan of the off-beat approach he No3tic takes on the track.
“Fields” however, instantly catches my attention with that guitar entrance. It just feels so refreshing and freeing. And goodness, that production is gorgeous! No3tic lowered the autotune levels a bit, which I really like because I do enjoy his voice! I think he has a solid tone and it makes it less overpowering against the production. I enjoyed his musicality on this track too! It definitely has a bit more bounce to it than previous tracks, but it’s fun and effortless. The background effects such as the birds chirping really contribute to the overall idea of the fields, and you get to see that cinematographic influence which I love! It paints a whole picture of being outside, hanging with your friends and enjoying beautiful weather. I think it still has a strong Cudi influence, but this is more Man on the Moon Part I, whereas some of the other tracks make me think of Part III. Once again, I think it’s just the heavily auto-tuned sound versus the more raw, authentic sound, and I think that’s what also makes this song just so easy and natural. This may also be his best lyrical performance on the EP, and his grasp of the beat and how it demonstrates his musicality is beautiful. The last thirty seconds of the track are just astonishing; while I would have loved to hear some light singing over the tail-end of the beat, it’s so beautiful on its own that nothing was necessarily lost. Definitely another top track for me.
For all the shit I was talking about the auto-tune, I do really like “Want Some Mo.” It’s really catchy! And while the production seems fairly standard at first glance, it has a couple of really dope switch-ups! The chorus is beautiful, and I can definitely see this song becoming a hit. It has the perfect mix of pretty melodies and trap elements to be really popular right now, especially when looking at artists like Travis Scott and Pop Smoke.
“Bang My Line” probably has the most Southern influence on the EP. It definitely has the grittiest beat, and No3tic ditched the auto-tune and singing, with the exception of the chorus. The rhyme scheme, flow, and beat of the chorus reminds me of Drake’s “Look Alive”, but it’s a catchy track. I think it offers something different for the EP. Although, the flip around the 2 minute mark took me by surprise! I was getting very comfortable with the song, and thought it was just fun to vibe to, so hear that bit of melody through me off-guard, which is respectable. I think there are a couple of unexpected elements and risks in the track, separating it from a lot of the trap songs on the radio right now.
“Cautious” already starts off on a more stripped down note, once again bringing a new side to this EP. It amazes me how much No3tic sounds like Kid Cudi, even just in his speaking voice! At first, I thought this was just going to be a motivational song about the come-ups, one that’s been done so many times before. But just like every other track on this EP, I got schooled for being presumptuous. The imagery of “walking through the fire” is incredible, giving off phoenix vibes to contribute to the motifs of strength and encouragement. While the guitar was getting to feel a bit repetitive as it was used quite a bit, I still appreciate the dedication to using it as an overarching element throughout the EP. However at this point in the song, it was beginning to remind me a bit too much of Travis Scott’s “Yosemite”. It’s been interesting to see the different ways in which the guitar has been used throughout the project, but in using it so often, it made it hard to appreciate how special it sounded in certain tracks. However, the piano outro was really pretty, and worked well to transition into the last track.
The bonus track, “Ocean”, contrasts beautifully with “Fields”, providing a more atmospheric sound that conjures up the imagery of vast bodies of water, versus the open greenery. Both of the tracks really lived up to their names, showing that No3tic definitely isn’t lacking on the creative front. We see an emphasis on piano in the production, with a bit of synth, which was a gorgeous addition, and a bit of a nice break from the guitar. The imagery of floating on the water definitely contributes to the track, ending the EP on a fairly different note while still fitting in with the rest of the project. I didn’t mind the auto-tune much on this track either, I think it worked well with the song!
I overall was very impressed with some of the creative decisions on this project. I was constantly surprised by some of the risks being taken and No3tic clearly has an impressive sense of musicality. With that being said, there were some parts that were overly Travis Scott and Kid Cudi, which I think would please their fans. But I also think No3tic sounded best just being himself rather than trying to adopt their styles. I do have to commend his ability to mimic their sounds, however, because a lot of artists attempt to do something very similar, just for the music to sound extra corny. He managed to take these influences in a very artistic manner, making them his own. His music is definitely good, but he’s not lacking on the innovative front and I would love to see what other elements he could conjure up on his own. The EP definitely demonstrates his ability as a producer-I think he expressed his versatility very well while showing how everything comes together the paint the bigger picture. Overall, I think this is a solid project and works amazingly as an entity, combining so many different styles. I could definitely see myself playing some of those tracks on repeat!
If you enjoyed No3tic’s EP or even want to get in touch to purchase beats, you can contact him below. Make sure to show him love!
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