"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> EN DERIN
By: Libby Freeman
I found En Derin's new release "Happiness" to be creative and well produced Grime/Euro-hip-hop. Musically, there is a lot of depth to "Happiness," actually sounds like a mix between Kid Cudi and early Depeche Mode. The melancholy synths and almost calypso drums strike well against the title and the 3 (5 if you count the intro and outro) inspirational skits scattered throughout the disc. The narrator at the intro threatens to "elevate consciousness to a higher level," which is probably a good idea, but put me off for whatever reason.
I also couldn't help but notice how nicely sectioned the tracks were. There is an auto-tune warning, which pops up first on track 3, "Find a Way." I generally loath auto-tune, but En Derin's use was very subtle and, um, tasteful. Track 4, "Tonight" is all twitchy drum beats and again, beautiful dark synth sounds. "The Power of Love" ft. Leyla (she sounds a bit like Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance and completely makes the song) is sweet and a little dopey.
Track 6 was another inspirational skit, imploring the listener that they "can move mountains." Makes me think of poor Sysaphus, which was probably not the intention. Irregardless, one should not scoff at such well meaning. Track 7, "Nothing Can Stand in My Way" is tight and powerful and leads well into Track 8: "Strong Forever," (produced by J. Silverstone) where the speaker rebukes his girl for doing him bad w/ out falling into staple sexist traps, which is remarkable in any genre.
Major gear shift at Track 9, "Walking in the Air." I'm not sure who the guest M.C. is, but he's tight. This is probably the closest this album comes to political statement w/ Derin designating it "for the ghettos worldwide" at the start and the guest M.C. making criticisms of the P.I.C. Love that. "W.i.t.A." also features, Norahdon, who has an epic vocal range, definitely my favorite track on the album. Track 10 is another skit proclaiming that "the world needs more dreamers." To which I fully agree. Tracks 11 - 13 are all solid, 14 is another skit encouraging all to "Be Blessed." Track 15 -18 are just as solid as the others, most notable was track 16, "You & Me," (produced by Slim T) which depicts this sort of relationship: "mostly I hate the way I don't hate you," accompanied by classical sounding keyboards...very nice.
All told, I fully appreciate what En Derin is doing here and would definitely recommend his work to those who like Grime, UK hip-hop, experimental music, synth, etc. The skits had grown on me by the time I got to the outro: "thank you for choosing happiness..."