Q: “Soul, PRESENT” Album Review – Nostalgic reams of neo-soul


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

soul, present is A deep dive into the synthesizer-heavy sounds of the 80s’ – a world Q loves more than anything.

The soul scoutsman has been marked.

During the mist of lockdown, it started with Take Me Where Your Heart Is. A new frontier on 2020’s The Shave Experiment – made all the more successful from similarities from the likes of Thundercat and undoubtedly TikTok – new project for 2023 has been brewing ever since.

Soul, PRESENT comes at a time most needed. A mellow funkadelic of soul and groove, Q’s debut feels very much like quicksand. A sparkling night-pop reincarnating the likes of Prince and Rick James all the while keeping it to the tune of butter-funk that the likes of Brandon and Planet Giza bring, Q is on the soul-path of redemption.

A loosely-cut track which packs a percussive punch, NOT ALONE was the first markings of his new red-infused project. An electro-80s cult-classic very much fitting to the world of GTA’s Vice City, it has brought about a new sense of adventure time for Q. Another notch on his belt is STEREO DRIVER. A slow love-ballad fit for any soulful soirée, it sets the tone for folks’ desire to hark back to the magic of the 80s – a seemingly simpler time.

Whether it’s the hard-wired oscillating synth lines of INCAPABLE HEART or the squashed snare in Jackson-esque of UNDERSTAND to the LUV (I KNOW I WANT THIS FOR REAL) – an enchanting pulse to the life and rhythms of alternative R&B right now – it encapsulates a deeper harmony to creating exactly what you want to create.

An immersive soundscape poured in with deeply heavy lyrics and an undulating synth-pop rhythm to make you dance, move or cry, TODAY is an especially fun listen.

Funnily enough, it’s neither alternative R&B or soul or funk. It encapsulates a genreless escape of music that we’ve seen many over a-time: perhaps a sense of neo-soul – a merging of classic soul sounds of Stax – than anything else.

When music becomes all too stagnant in saturated genres, artists become more and more motivated to find the next spell of new. You can argue that what Q provides here, is nothing new we’ve heard over the years. But right now, no one is creating these kinds of sounds anymore. What’s more, listening to music inspired from the greatest decade where music was at its peak in 2023, is utterly delightful.

If there’s ever a song that makes you question what decade you’ve woken up, just listen to Soul, PRESENT.

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