NGHTMRE cements his sound with a solid debut EP [Review]
NGHTMRE finished 2015 as one of the most hyped rising stars in dance music, thanks to a hefty catalogue of head-turning remixes and his collaborative EP with Slander, Nuclear Bonds. It’s a position that’s well earned. The LA based producer, whose real name is Tyler Marenyi, brings a higher degree of complexity and a wider variety of influence to his production than any number of more veteran or well-known producers.
His eponymous, debut solo EP — out today on Mad Decent — demonstrates his strengths and his potential more than anything he’s released thus far in his relatively short career. A raucous, eclectic patchwork of different genres and influences tied together by a consistent stylistic tone, Marenyi’s newest offering seems him fully coming into his own as an artist.
The first track on the EP, “Prelude,” is arguably also the weakest. Consisting of nothing more than a simple, and rather uninteresting, piano line, it serves little purpose other than to perpetuate the questionable trend of atmospheric intro tracks in EPs.
“Burn Out,” the second song on the EP, serves as a much better introduction to the overall sound and sentiment of the release. Starting off with soft chords and melodic textures that open up into a surprisingly piercing trap drop, NGHTMRE’s penchant for inventive, over-the-top sound design packaged in a club-ready song structure is on full display. The energy level stays at 11 for “Get Back.” Driving drums beats and Ludacris’ instantly recognizable vocal sample give way to a crackling, kinetic drop that is pound-for-pound as much fun as anything the producer has ever released.
Shifting from snarling leads to splashy chords and drum fills, NGHTMRE flirts with future bass on “Hold Me Close.” But, unlike many of his peers, Tyler manages to be influenced by a sound without just ripping it off, and the marriage of his heavier sound with the brightness and levity of future bass leads to one of the EP’s strongest selections. From here, the EP makes a rather abrupt transition to “Touch,” the penultimate track, a concussive dubstep banger that’s exciting and intricate but slightly less inspired than the tracks that surround it.
Nowhere else on the EP is NGHTMRE’s eclecticism more promising, or more vexing, than on the final song, “Holdin’ On To Me.” Though it’s far from the first time, even over the course of this EP, that he’s dabbled with melody or lyrical, pop-influenced composition, ‘Holdin’ On To Me” doesn’t blend as well as Tyler’s other forays into genre-bending. It’s a piece with a lot of good ideas, and it’s a concept that has a lot of potential, but as a sum of its parts it remains not fully realized.
Ultimately, the NGHTMRE EP, out March 25 on Mad Decent, cements its creator as an artist full of potential, and portends a career from which greatness may yet come.