Azwan is a musician from California who has a rich musical background. He has released multiple albums, toured and even filmed a movie using his own compositions. His latest artistic endeavor is a four-song EP entitled Tough Love which in his own words, “examines a bunch of failed relationships, faded dreams, harsh realities, volatile city vampires, loneliness, depression, lust and eventually glimmers of hope.” That's quite a lot to talk about.
His style mixes several styles including rock, dance and pop. It blends very well making a unique style that I was appreciating from the first song. Tough Love is a DIY effort that has top notch production. I thought the mixes sounded balanced. Overall, the EP sounded professional.
The EP opens with “Ponytail Blues” which is a great song. The vocals are slick almost Prince-esque. The instruments are a combination of funk and rock. The hooks are notable and the song has an upbeat energy that grabs you. Azwan combines electric and organic elements. The lead guitar is prevalent but so are the airy synths and percussive elements. He does a good job combining the layers.
Up next is “Chop Chop” which has a different feel. The song is still danceable but doesn’t rely on 4/4 time. The music has a Portuguese/Brazilian vibe and felt more worldly while losing some of the funk of the first song. I think the use of electronic elements or sample is what made the song have a unique vibe. It goes into unexpected directions which were inventive.
“Lost in Love” does away with percussion completely and is more melancholy, reflective and all around emotionally resonant. It was good to hear a different side of his music.
He closes with “Loners in the Nighttime” which takes the energy back and is similar to “Ponytail Blues.” The song is really catchy and the most single worthy of the batch.
Azwan goes four for four with these songs. I enjoyed each one. My only complaint is that it went by a little fast and felt like an appetizer. Word on the street is that he is releasing an LP soon but this EP should be a proper introduction.
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