(Los Angeles) December 21st Firepower Records is set to release Zack The Lad’s forthcoming EP Black Sheep on January 29th. This has been a long time coming—the mysterious Zack The Lad has been on our radar for a while now, and the complexity of his alluring vibe-intense tunes have challenged and inspired many of the Firepower artists to up their production games. Last year, Datsik selected Zack The Lad’s tune “Skin” to feature on UKF’s Tune of the Month series. “I’ve been really feeling his stuff,” Datsik says. “The vibes are on another level. To put it simply, Zack The Lad is one of the only artists I have on my iPod right now.” That’s saying a lot coming from the Firepower Records Label Bass Boss himself. Needless to say, we felt compelled to install him on the Firepower Records roster and pump him right back into your earholes. The sound of the EP may be a departure from some of the hard-as-nails ragers Firepower Records has released in the past, but we also understand that there’s more than one way for music to melt the ice crushing our hearts and souls—and in this case, the sensual sunshine of Zack The Lad works just as well as a any sonic sledgehammer. Warning: Vibes Ahead.
Leading the EP is “I Want It”, and it puts on full display the expert interweaving of the foundational elements of both Dub and modern bass. It’s a theme with which Zack the Lad will experiment throughout the EP, and, as in “I Want It”, his use of live drumming and guitar progressions acts as a homage to the roots of the culture. The melody is sexy and vibey, and as the winter chill sets in, this track is designed to warm you up.
“Make Me Move” infects the whole body before the mind has even registered what’s happening. Zack The Lad’s emphasis on soaring vocals, a gorgeously euphoric synth arrangement, and a heavy emphasis on the 808 trap style beat structure, boosts this track into the sexual stratosphere. His decision to support the track with a screaming electric guitar accentuates that very human yearning to break out and dance close with someone special.
“Bitter World” continues to push the organic dub theme, but the focus here should be on the soul-expanding wall of sound Zack The Lad builds into the track. Multiple layers of sound designs blast though the sound barrier, including live piano instrumentation and the sound of rain falling on a tin roof. The overall tone of the tune is on fire with a kind of cathartic melancholy made possible by the intense energy of the vocal. If bass music was a church, this track would lead the ritual.
Datsik selected “Skin” as his “UKF Tune of the Month” last year. It’s soulfull and searching, and the mind yields for the body. Sinister yet musical, the organic nature of the track feels like a throwback to Robert Miles and the heavy Trip Hop stylings of his 2001 Organik album. Zack The Lad’s pure artistry is displayed here, and as the song reunites the mind with the body, we realize that music is a kind of powerful drug, and the best artists remind us of that through their art. From now on, we put Zack The Lad in that category.
The tracklisting for Black Sheep is:
- Zack The Lad – I Want It
- Zack The Lad – Make Me Move
- Zack The Lad – Bitter World
- Zack The Lad – Skin
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