Watching up and coming artistes find their sound and grow with quiet confidence is truly magical. With some, the sounds are somewhat generic. Others carve out their niche, run with it then get too scared to experiment. A few, the ones who really go far, come off as scientists. They find their own sound, chase the thrill and mix things up every step of the way. Jess ETA is one of those scientists.
He does a little more with his work. On his latest project, Balance, He attempts to find the balance between scientific precision and circling back to being an artiste. On this project Jess ETA’s lyricism cruises through a range of core R&B topics.
In 17 minutes, you’d have listened to soulful renditions of every stage of relationships. If you ease into the music and really pay attention, you’ll find the boy meets girl stage on “Resistance”. That track is particularly sensual and eases listeners into the project. It begins to sound irresistible as SgawD and Jess ETA play on that fine line that fuses Afrobeats with the blues.
“Pull Me Close” is as expressive as it is addictive. It has this drop and bounce feel that projects happiness. There’s even more optimism on “More”. It’s a little surprising to find this track on the project considering that it was released in 2019. However, the track resonates with the project’s theme and direction.
Things take a turn as “Puppet” comes on, we find that every good thing must come to an end. At the interlude, “Odyssey”, one lover has walked away from the relationship. It’s a refreshing feel as the song resonates with the core RnB/Soul sound. Both “Puppet” and “Odyssey” make perfect additions to an “Ultimate Heartbreak Playlist”. One sore spot on “Odyssey” is sound bite sample from 1:27 to 1:50. The production could’ve traded it off entirely for the coin drop that sounded like loose change.
On the final track, “Balance” we’re reminded that even on journeys as lonely as heartbreak, finding balance might be all you need (especially if you have Jess ETA between your ears). The production on this track is done with some aplomb.
One of the more important aspects in curating projects is A&R and arrangements. However, it’s usually neglected and more often than not – done unskilfully. On Balance, the arrangement creates a sonic coherence and ekes out the theme more clearly. Zarion Uti and SgawD on features were perfect. The production (especially the mixing and mastering) did great work. It sounds like something from a veteran act.
Balance deserves all the streams it’s garnering. If I have 5 stars to give, Jess ETA gets 4 for the sheer impressiveness on this EP.
Top picks are “Resistance”, “More” and “Puppet”(special points for the production).