Album Review: The Electric – Life is Moving

Legendary Hip-Hop DJ and Producer, DJ Vadim, has been hard at work constructing his latest musical project, collectively named The Electric. With a resume of beat-making for names including Stevie Wonder, the Roots, Erykah Badu, and Fat Freddy’s Drop, “Daddy Vadim” has proven his musical ingenuity through his collaborations. The Russian native is also known for his remarkable ability to scout rising talent, and in the last year DJ Vadim has focused on his new brainchild, the Electric. Hand picked from opposite ends of the globe, the group consists of Chicago-based, underground Hip-Hop artist, Pugs Atmoz, and the emerging UK soulful singer/songwriter, Sabira Jade. The trio embodies an innovative fusion of Hip-Hop, Soul, R&B, and electronic, giving them a totally unexplored sound. Despite the seemingly random pairing of artists, the group’s chemistry is undeniable.

While The Electric is currently only making a small glitch on the music radar, they are soon to attract well-deserved attention. Just last week, on March 14th, the trio released their debut album, Life is Moving. A Hip-Hop record with influences from numerous other musical genres, The Electric’s debut is tantalizingly rich. Coupled with an emerging presence in the blog world and an appearance at this year’s SXSW, the release of Life is Moving is sure to give this group the exposure they need to blow up.

The album kicks off with “Toot Toot,” a freestyle showcasing Pugs Atomz’s flawless flows. The track begins with an introduction that combines bongo drums with an electronic backdrop, suspending listeners somewhere between the realms of reggae and dance. Sabira adds the chorus, harmonizing with a minor-pitched “toot toot, baby” and a couple “oohs and aahs” that creates a full and unique sound. Following the intro comes, “Overloaded,” which strengthens Sibera’s vocal role. However, Atomz remains the dominant figure here, rapping with a style and sound eerily similar to 50-cent. “Overloaded” radiates good vibes, serving as a fitting transition into the next track “We Rollin,” which is at this point the most fast-paced song on the record. The increase in tempo results from DJ Vadim amplifying his role. Asserting glitchy effects over electro-dub undertones, Vadim turns this Hip-Hop record into a spaced-out, bangin’ hit. During the last 30 seconds he completely takes over, breaking the elements down for a few bars of pure, old-school funk.

The next three songs are the strongest on the album. First comes “Sometimes,” which allows Sabira to emerge as the more prominent vocalist—a nice change from the previous track. However, Vadim cuts the ambience of her sultry vocals by adding a hard-hitting baseline that makes “Sometimes” bump. Next is “So Now You Know,” which incorporates a vintage brass section that highlights the wonderful diversity of Life is Moving. The single, “Beautiful,” turns up the base, reminding us that this is a Hip-Hop album at heart. Featured on this track is South American rap goddess, Yarah Bravo. Combined with Sibera’s dreamy vocals and Atomz’ most solid performance on the record, Bravo’s bossy rhymes bring this track to another level.

“Life is Moving,” is the perfect song to add to a playlist dedicated to chillin’ with your homies. Then, Vadim introduces “You Can Try,” with electronic synths evocative of Crystal Castles. The next track, “Hands Up,” once again brings Sabira’s superb vocal range into the spot light. Full of looped, soprano ad-libs, the Tribe Quest Called Quest cover definitely leaves you with “a feeling that fills you up and kisses you so sweetly.”

Other standouts include “Running,” “Electric Company,” and the finale “Music is Addictive.” First, “Running” illustrates Atomz serious skills as a rapper. Sabira melodically complements his flow perfectly with minimal backup vocals. Vadim ties the track together with some raw turntable scratching, giving “Running” a 90’s Hip-Hop vibe. “Electric Company” is a groovy dance track that incorporates lush electro synths, tribal drums, and some xylophone action. Finally, “Music is Addictive” is a last exhibition of Sabira’s beautiful vocal abilities that leaves you begging for more.

As a debut album, Life is Moving shows a promising future for the Electric. The variety of tracks provides Vadim, Atomz, and Sabria with ample opportunities to demonstrate their individual talents that lay the foundation for the group. Musically, Life is Moving is brilliant, sampling the entire spectrum of musical genres to create an explosively unique record. The one element that’s lacking is imaginative lyrics, which leaves the Electric with room to improve. Regardless of this minor critique, Life is Moving is a vibrant record full of potential that reserves this talented new group a prime spot in the up and coming Hip-Hop scene.

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