Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on an independent hip hop artist who has released his senior studio endeavor this last week, GiANT, The Artist. (I’ll just refer to him as GIANT from here on out.) His new record, entitled ‘The Ocean EP,’ is quite longer than your usual EP. Clocking in at eight tracks plus an introduction, the release is a lengthy statement. It’s a deeply personal one, too, which is what makes it so compelling. Let’s explore the new EP and discover if it’s worth having in your music collection this summer.
The introduction to GIANT’s new EP is an intriguing one. It pulls a few different samples together over a particularly atmospheric soundscape. It sets the stage elegantly for ‘Let It Burn,’ the first real song. Featured artist Lizzy provides a wonderful dichotomy to GIANT’s performance on the track as he delves into his mental and social struggles. GIANT explores bipolarism, anxiety, sleeplessness, and so much more. It’s an intense way to explode out of the gate, needless to say.
‘I’m The Bad Guy’ is an especially honest break-up song about the kind of turmoil and pain that someone goes through in the aftermath of a less-than-ideal relationship finale. GIANT toys with the emotions of feeling like ‘the bad guy’ after being pinned as one by a previous partner. It’s a relatable notion, I’d argue, and one that’ll resonate with a lot of listeners who have gone through similar pain. ‘Jet Lag’ follows with similar relatability, digging into GIANT’s struggle toward individuality growing up.
‘Therapy’ fills its spaces with some interesting soundbites, including iPhone ringtones and occasional gunshots. It’s a track that further details GIANT’s struggles with emotional instability and mental illness. “I say I’m fine,” he muses, “it’s so easy to believe me.” It’s a sad sentiment - one that echoes how thousands of people feel every day. ‘Calling Cape Cod,’ a song that follows, is also a bit heartbreaking as GIANT seems to eulogize and memorialize a close one who died.
‘Different’ has some of the finest beats on the record. It’s a really stunningly crafted landscape that GIANT occupies. That’s very much worth mentioning at this point, anyway. The production of ‘The Ocean EP’ is superb. GIANT is accentuated masterfully by a huge array of sonic intricacies that vary from track to track. ‘Virginia Beach Interlude,’ for example, is one of the best excursions through terrific instrumentation.
The final tune, ‘The Ocean,’ has a unique sense of finality and resolution to it. After an album of such distress and turmoil, GIANT seems to reach some sort of consensus within himself by the end of it. In a way, it’s a reassuring ending to an emotional rollercoaster. GIANT is hopefully turning his back on those harder times toward something much better.
Check out the album on SoundCloud now: