Chains is the debut album from notevenstevens. An album which is the result of constant experimentation with complex arrangement and abstract musical elements.
Described as one of the most unique artists in the Australian underground scene, notevenstevens is the solo project of Brisbane based producer Ethan Stevens.
Taking influence from the likes of Jimmy Edgar, Dorian Electra, and 100 Gecs, notevenstevens has forged his signature style, using industrial house sounds to create absolute filth in the cleanest way possible.
Straight off the bat, Goin’ Up is the perfect opener to synopsise the album. It crackles and builds before seamlessly intertwining with the following track Float. There is no distinctive ending to Goin’ up, nor is there a distinguishable beginning to Float, yet, both songs are unmistakably their own.
Float is suitably titled too, providing effervescent sensations that notevenstevens makes clear you have no control over. It’s a metallic track, but polished metal that you can see your reflection in. Think Flume, if he played warehouse shows, wore speed dealers, and sported year 6 disco spikes.
You get your first taste of vocals on Infatuated, backed by whistling synths that’ll take you back to the Chucky remix of LMFAO’s I’m In Miami Bitch.
As an album, Chains follows the narrative structure you would have learned at school. It’s eternally building until it reaches a climax, sedating itself once more.
Early fan-favourite, Paradise, features vocalist stitxch, and is bound to go off in a live setting. The layering of vocal samples is completely immersive, complete with a dirty, brass bass that ducks in and out of the track.
By the title track, notevenstevens begins to bring in the story’s resolution. Chains has an air of dubstep to it that will likely inspire you to scroll through your old iTunes catalogue and reminisce with Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.
To give you a picture of how dynamic the record can be at times, notevenstevens’ inspiration playlist features an eclectic selection of artists ranging from rappers JPEGMAFIA and Aminé, to indie acts like Lime Cordiale and DMA’S, then jumping to electro house thumpers by Shygirl and IXXF. Even Weezer make their way into the list.
Multiple tracks on the album fade into each other, but the record will also catch you off-guard with a sporadic fade-out or a sharp cut-off. It’s proof that Chains was moulded from pure creativity, breaking rules and replacing them with delicious genre-defying house, allowing for personalised touches throughout.
Chains is available on all streaming platforms now. Listen to the album below.