Music Review: On The Rise EP

Mar 24,2020

On The Rise EP, a seven-track record which compiles the work of up & coming musicians that recently took part in a bootcamp hosted by Nomad - an entrepreneurial community platform venture. Nomad collaborated with the Sound & Audio Engineering Institute (SAE) to bring fifteen youngsters aiming to have a career in music and under the leadership of Dubai based juggernaut producer/songwriter Rayan, took part in a creative bootcamp earlier this year.

The seven-track EP demonstrates the variety of talent dispersed throughout the UAE as it brought singers, rappers, producers and audio students onto one project and the result is pleasing and refreshing. The creative diversity is evident as our ears journey through a sequence of pop, trap, alternative R&B and some cuts with dance music synths or strands of afrobeat elsewhere.

Stand out vocal performances appear at various points in the record, and in some moments the support from established artists such as Menon are fairly visible, but that being said, the talent gap is not a talking point of the end product,  and that’s more of an accreditation to the youngsters’ talent than anything else.  There are several highlights throughout the EP, such as the harmonies and melodies in the opener Take It Easy, or the Oud work throughout Tabbouleh. And Foreign for its tremendously executed vocal performance on that stand out hook. 

There are moments where the artistry and musicianship keeps resurfacing, and overall the EP stood out for its ideas, in terms of lyrics and instrumentation which could be quite simple at times, but created that extra breathing space for resonance and absorption. The engineering ideas and execution gives a nice polished aesthetic for the overall project too. The only real critique here would be the cohesion perhaps lacks a bit. The transitioning through different genres is never going to be an easy task, but then again this body of work isn’t a collaborative album per se, but rather a collation of the bootcamp output so the aim of demonstrating the talent in possession of our youngsters was certainly met.

Nomad is something to keep on your radars with plans to provide a global platform for UAE’s talent to showcase the innovative content developed locally, it is introducing OTR (On The Rise) Festival in 2020 at the 117 Live Arena to celebrate the community’s success stories and the launch of its Phase I venue. 

Listen to the EP here here