I haven't been this jealous about a new artist in a long time. I first heard the incredibly heavy Castles from Black Atlass when the visuals started floating around a couple of weeks ago (see the first video below) -- and unknown to me we actually posted the unmastered version of the EP on EARMILK way back in January. The sound instantly reminded me of a new wonkier cross between The Weeknd and Jai Paul... A dark, pulsing, work of incredibly accomplished atmospheric pop/R&B.
I figured it was some experimental project by someone I should have known about, and so was shocked to find out The Black Atlass EP actually comes from an 18 year old producer from small town Ontario, Canada -- Alex Fleming aka Black Atlass. This multi-instrumentalist phenom, put together the six track compilation in his basement studio during his spare time while completing his senior year of high school in London, Ontario -- a small town known for university bros, amateur hockey and not much else (I think he's originally from Montreal though so that must be it!).
I don't know how to explain this album other than its one of the hardest, heaviest debuts from a singer I've ever heard -- The tracks just writhe with emotion. Alex's airy voice croons over pulsing distorted synthlines while chopped up samples and heavy snares beat over delicate piano lines. The whole ride is sonically disorienting in a trippy amazing way.
Just like the Weeknd the tracks seem to possess a eery hazy nocturnal quality -- except that If The Weeknd's songs are ballads about sex, drugs, after parties and debauchery gone too far then this is the soundtrack of the dreams or nightmares that would follow.
Just play Castles and you'll get it... Not since Justice's "Genesis" has a song opened so heavy.
You can download the entire mastered album HERE