1. Artist: XXYYXX

    : XXYYXX

    Rating: 6.8/10

    XXYYXX is a young producer whose name would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue if his pseudonym was even vaguely pronounceable. Nevertheless, 16 year old Florida native Marcel Everett has garnered a large internet following with an ambient production style that has drawn in listeners from around the globe, the video for the first single of his self-titled album ‘About You’ has racked up well over 5 million views on Youtube. His music has escaped definition having been described as ‘contemporary blogwave’, ‘chillwave’,  ‘witchstep’ and almost everything in between. Marcel himself prefers the rather more vague term of ‘experimental bass’, but with a musical style that seems to deftly avoid contemporary definitions it seems to be the most apt description available. No one can deny that Marcel has been pushing his music in a unique direction; Marcel makes his own synths from scratch to achieve distinctive ambient soundscapes, a sound that he has been lauded for across the web.

    Marcels’ self titled album XXYYXX is the second full length release he has completed for Abstract Records, following on from 2011’s ‘Still Sound’ an album he released at the tender age of 15 which gave listeners a glimpse of the promising young producer. There is no doubt that the kids got talent, ‘About You’ with it’s slow synth and use of filters has a melody that lulls the listener into calm comfort before developing into a large slow bass reminiscent of big name producers such as Burial or James Blake. ‘About You’ is the albums best showcase of the style with which XXYYXX has become renowned for; dazzling synths over the top of a slow bass, accompanied with warped vocals and diverse samples. The second track off of the album, ‘Good Enough’ features a clever sample of the TLC hit ‘No Scrubs’ placed over the top of a disarmingly simple yet clever drum pattern. It is a strong start to the album yet slightly misleading. After these two tracks the listener has  heard the breadth of diversity represented over the whole album by XXYYXX, and to be blunt across his whole discography. This is not to say that the album is not enjoyable, Marcel has constructed a distinctive soundscape in which it is easy enough to lose oneself in a haze of smoke and carefully constructed synth patterns. It is beautiful. ambient, minimal, and it is completely XXYYXX.

    The final conclusions then on the XXYYXX album are mostly positive, and when Marcels’ youth is taken into consideration it is a wholly impressive album. He is pushing towards innovation with his albums brushing with greatness, however sometimes his minimalist ambient style is his downfall. Time could allow Marcel to be a brilliant producer, an increasingly likely scenario if he continues his frenetic creation of beautiful soundscapes, but not just yet can the young producer be called genius.

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