Album Review – No3tic’s ‘I. State of Mine’

I’m actually quite excited about this album review! I first worked with No3tic last year when I reviewed his EP, FieldsIt was a beautiful project, but I must admit that I was critical. I was invested in his sound as I was witnessing a young artist who was so musically gifted, but who was also trying to find his way. My most common remark was that he was heavily influenced by artists like Cudi and Travis Scott, and I wanted to see him find his own path. While it’s important to draw inspiration, artists need to know that there’s always a place for their sound, and they don’t need to sound like other artists who have already made it. I tried to reiterate that because No3tic’s talent was evident, and I knew he could do something absolutely revolutionary. Earlier in the year, he reached back out to me with a single he released titled “Get Free.” I was amazed that this was the same person I worked with! It still displayed his talent to the same capacity if not more, and it was a delight to see him find a sound that reflected himself so beautifully. So I am beyond excited to review the first part of No3tic’s new 3-part EP, State of Mine, and see how it compares to his first project. 

Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, artist and producer No3tic has a love for the arts that 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. Making music since 2014, No3tic has always demonstrated a strong grasp of musicality through his rhythms and flows, and there is no doubt in my mind that he’ll achieve his dream of one day scoring for movies.

The EP begins with the first track, “SZA 3.” The production is gradual and sexy while still feeling authentic to some of No3tic’s signature sounds. It definitely still feels influenced by Travis Scott, but without feeling like it would be a Travis Scott track. Instead, it feels new and innovative, sealing No3tic’s place in the industry as an artist who is a serious threat. All around, I think it’s a beautiful introduction to the EP that displays No3tic’s strengths. It’s just enough of a tease to open up the project without revealing too much, keeping the listener interested to see what direction the EP will go in next, especially because of the dark and mysterious outro. The last 25 seconds display No3tic’s film side, painting a dark and ominous scene to set the pace for what’s to come. The abrupt cut at the end only furthered that, making me extra curious and a tad perplexed because knowing No3tic’s style, every second is intentional.

The silence carries us into “im alright,” the second track off the EP. The production on this song is absolutely captivating from the very first second. The intricacies and details are so beautiful to explore as the song unfolds, and No3tic’s voice only makes it even more eccentric. The lyrics weren’t extremely substantial for me, but in all honesty, I didn’t need them to be. They enhanced the production, and that’s where my attention was focused anyway. Around the 1 minute mark, we see a really cool transition into a more trap-style rhythm, adding more production and fading in the original beat to build some definition. Those changes are why I get so excited about hearing No3tic’s music; each song is so dynamic and well-thought-out, and it keeps you on your toes. We get another transition around 2 minutes in, and truthfully, I have no idea what’s happening, nor do I know what I’m going to hear next, but I love every second of it. It feels like I’ve stumbled into the middle of a science fiction movie, and I have no clue how to proceed. The vocals are haunting and enchanting, and that very brief 4-second outro might have been my favorite moment of the song. This track actually left me speechless; I think I’ll need to revisit it a few times to catch all of the elements because just when I thought I had it all figured out, it turned into this cryptic, mystical piece of art that I’m still trying to decipher.

“PLay (see it)” continues with the intergalactic trap production, easing the listener in with a heavy synth melody. As the keys and drums enter, the beat takes off, introducing us to the sexy female vocals that once again tease us with what’s to come. No3tic enters the track with his own vocals, turning off the auto-tune for his verse. The one thing I’m unsure of is the high-pitched vocals in the background, but the subtle “ice ice” was enough to recapture my attention. However, it’s the 1:50 mark that shifts the song completely into something monumental. Vocally, this is hands down No3tic’s best performance. His harmonies and melodies are positively breathtaking, and they work so incredibly with the production to enhance the song, even getting me on board with the high-pitched background vocals that I was at first reconsidering. This song was truly something unique. It was alluring and dark and enticing, seducing the listener to submit themselves to every detail.

“Wave” is probably my least favorite track off the project, but not because I dislike it. It just felt slightly underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the album. Considering the EP is only 5 songs, No3tic has packed SO much into each track that I got a bit greedy. My favorite aspect of “Wave” is the conflict and resolution that occurs in the production, mirroring the up and down motion of a wave building and crashing. However, at some points, a few pieces in the beat felt as though they were conflicting with one another, and I think the song could have been either further simplified or far more complex to match the others. With that being said, I have to applaud No3tic for his song-selection, because each song showcased new skills while still working cohesively with the other tracks. Although this song wasn’t a top contender for me, it did showcase No3tic’s lyricism the most throughout the album, and it was a good decision to include that for new listeners who may not be aware that his flow is as strong as his production.

The project concludes with the final song, “Rising.” The track is considerably lighter, uplifting the listener out of the darkness, causing me to speculate some of the overarching themes in part II of the trilogy. The background vocals around 1:20 are a stand-out for me, but other than that, the catchy track loses me at moments. The song is gorgeous to listen to, especially as it offers a bit of motivational positivity to contrast with the rest of the darker tones, but I think it would have been cool to make this track a transitional piece. Smooth and out-of-the-box transitions are one of No3tic’s biggest strengths. Rather than springing a completely new style, take the listener on the journey with you from the dark to the light, and show them what they can catch on the second EP. Although I felt this track was also overshadowed by other songs, it was still a gorgeous way to end the EP.

I really love this project. When listening to Fields and then State of Mine, there’s a beautiful transformation that takes place within No3tic’s skills, especially as an arranger and a producer. His talent and creativity were always evident, but just as the name reiterates, this project was all No3tic. Rather than trying to group himself with the artists who inspire him, he used similar ideas to create an EP that reflected his vision for what this project should be. While I personally think the strongest songs were in the beginning, there wasn’t a single bad track. It’s just hard to compete when the stand-out songs are that fucking good. I am beyond excited to hear parts II and III of the project, especially after we got a little taste in that last track. I am so proud of No3tic, and I strongly encourage you guys to keep up with him on Instagram to see just how multi-faceted he is as an artist.

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