Review: Nick Monaco – The Stalker EP

Soul Clap Records has another winner on their hands with Nick Monaco’s ‘The Stalker EP’. A soulful, funky drop that makes you want to do very naught things. Many surprising twists throughout the release, with support remixes by different members of the Soulclap family.

90’s kid Nick Monaco grew up at the American West Coast, with the San Francisco Bay Area’s sun-ridden beaches and vibrant atmosphere as the playground for his musical development. He found his love for DJing at those house parties we all know and love so much, making him a generic crowd pleaser. Apart from a natural feel for what works on the dancefloor, Monaco’s wide music taste developed him a style unlike any other, implementing sounds from funk, hiphop, garage to even a self-proclaimed influence by the likes of Elliot Smith. Whatever you make of it, his versatility becomes obvious listening to any Monaco track, and soon received him the unreserved attention from Soul Clap Records. Still developing and maturing his sound, the next chapter in the 23-year-old rising star’s coming-of-age is the ‘The Stalker EP’, a record that fits neatly into the Soul Clap musical convictions. Soulful, melodic and catchy as hell.

Monaco kicks it off with the title track ‘The Stalker’, which instantly grabs your attention from the very first second. The hiphop beat has that authentic feel, as if Questlove himself was the percussionist. It blends perfectly with the P-Funk style bass groove, while the ringing synth tops it off, with a mystic feel. A funky reverb guitar coupled by deep vocals forms the melody of the track, making it a perfect example of Nick Monaco’s unorthodox style. Although House music is electronic, here we have Nick Monaco, bringing out a track that is basically band music. Give five guys some instruments, let them play this song, and you’ll have a live song with influences from almost every musical style available to us over the last 20 years. Monaco is a product of this melting pot, and it’s exactly this that makes his sound so interesting – it’s the synergy of music styles, after all, that will produce the music of the future. Monaco is still evolving, learning, adapting, but if time serves him right, which it will, guys like him will be laying the groundwork for what electronic music is going to sound like in the more funky, soulful camp of the electronic scene.

Very well, let’s see what else is in store for us on the EP. The funk is up, judging by follow-up track ‘Boy Meets World’. The production is a bit smarter, probably to call to a wider audience. Smooth sounds around, as the classic piano is reminiscent of the classic R&B tunes while the rhythm bass and vocals round off to a groove known from 00’s pop sound. But let’s not ignore the jazzy influences here: a saxophone would find a right place throughout this track. It’s smooth riding on Boy Meets World, not your dance floor smasher but perfect for some zonin’ together with your best friends.

On the flip there’s the third original composition entitled ‘Night Shift’, providing a darker sound. The reverb piano sound would serve any triphop track just fine, and somehow works with the au naturelle bass groove. FX-synths provide length in the track, and it’s the interplay between the different melodic pianos and synths that give a jazzy feel overall. Funny thing is that if you take away the triphop-jazz layers, as Monaco does towards the end, you’re left with a pretty straight-forward house beat. It’s a combo that on paper would sound ridiculous, but Monaco pulls it off all the same. What attitude!

There are some very refreshing and satisfying remixes featured on the The Stalker EP, including a Soul Clap as well as a Tanner Ross remix of ‘The Stalker’ and Wadz’ retake on ‘Boy Meets World’. With this EP, Nick Monaco shows us that he is still exploring his abilities, mixing up a wide arrange of influences into an addictive sound. We expect great thing from the young budding producer in the future, Soul Clap Records is the perfect stable for Nick to perfect his sound and come back even stronger next time around.

The Stalker EP is out now on wax and digitallly.

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Nick Monaco – The Stalker [Preview]
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Nick Monaco – Boy Meets World [Preview]
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Nick Monaco – The Stalker (Soul Clap’s American Tribal Remix)
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Nick Monaco – The Stalker (Tanner Ross Remix) [Preview]
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Nick Monaco – Boy Meets World (Wadz G-Funk Mix) [Preview]
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Nick Monaco – Night Shift (Vinyl Only) [Preview]
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