A year after the release of his debut EP, Hidden Neighbors, Chicago-based producer/artist Mister Lies, aka Nick Zanca, has delivered his first full-length album. Mostly mixed at his family cabin in Vermont (à la Justin Vernon), Mowgli displays this young producer’s tremendous maturity as a developing fixture on the music circuit. The forty minute, eight-track album hits you in waves; one moment pulling away with the lulls of muffled vocals, and the next hitting hard with heavy bass beats. Yet, this album doesn’t want you to dance, on the contrary, it wants you to plop down on the couch and enjoy the ride.
Floating through space, and swimming under water at the same time. That’s how I felt when listening to Mowgli for the first, second, and third time. Mister Lies fits the mold of an artist that can capitalize on the drug-like effects of music. He gives his music the quality of being able to deprive and overload your senses simultaneously. All you can do is close your eyes, sway your head and let Zanca’s brand of musical hypnosis grip your mind.
Although it was produced in a pastoral environment, the whole project is urban to the bone. With the opening track “Ashore” until the final track “Trustfalls”, Zanca provides listeners with an extremely intricate and well-produced music experience. Tracks meld together with perfection, making the whole album seem like one long experimental song. Zanca successfully transports us to an auditory landscape of a city lined with the chaotic soundtrack of weekend nightlife and the introspective moments found on a calm beach long after the sun has disappeared. Mowgli places you in a car, and drives around town at high speed. All you can do is sit back, relax, and watch the lights zoom by the passenger window as Mister Lies zooms around his favourite spots.
This atmospheric (for lack of a better word) genre has steadily increased in popularity, and over the last year, Mister Lies has established himself as one of its emerging artists. He perfects the use of fat, beefy low-notes that imitate the sounds of a heartbeat, and makes this type of music seem almost organic. From start to finish, Zanca uses this type of beat as his base, and perfectly layers all the bells and whistles on top of it.
For a debut full-length album, Mister Lies is letting it be known that he takes his music seriously. The album is consistent in tone, and displays flawless transitioning between each song. If you want to enjoy Mowgli to the fullest, then sit down on the comfiest chair available, put on a pair of headphones and listen from start to finish. That way you can absorb the vibes, and come out on the other side feeling wiser.