Born Jock Nowell-Usticke, the Kiwi producer and artist BAYNK has been (not-so) quietly rising to success over the last few years. From opening for MATOMA to his self-released EPs, and not to mention his 2017 hit “Poolside”, his presence has been felt across the industry. Now, his ten-track debut showcases his ear for low-key electronic dance music, forming a concise project that shines from start to finish.
BAYNK has been no stranger to collaboration, having had previous features with the likes of Sinead Harnett, GLADES, and Shallou to name a few – and ADOLESCENCE is no different. Overflowing with talent, the album boasts the presence of established artists like Tinashe, DRAMA, and Cosmo’s Midnight, as well as the more up-and-coming Rainsford, Cub Sport, and Golden Vessel. Each feature fully takes the artist’s style into consideration too, forming something that truly feels collaborative rather than a singer on a track.
That’s not to say that the solo songs are any lesser though, as the four tracks stand strong alongside the others. “Touch Me (Hold My Hand)” and “What If He Put His Hands On You” are the bookends to the album, and both harken back to the more experimental side of his Someone’s EPs, and “When I’m Alone” is a perfect sibling to the likes of 2017’s “Poolside”.
There are several high moments in the album, one being the track “Remember” with Rainsford. Her delicate vocal opposes the intense bass and production to make something ethereal and flowy. A similar thing occurs on Tinashe’s “Esther”, but instead of ethereal, BAYNK adapts the song to Tinashe’s edge. Her whopper of an entrance in the second verse, while simple, is incredibly effective – proving BAYNK’s incredible ear for intricate details.
“How Does It Feel” is another standout, this time with Australian duo Cosmo’s Midnight. Again, taking into account the pair’s bouncy, upbeat style, BAYNK creates something that aptly meets halfway. It’s a melancholy bop, lyrically tearing at your heartstrings while getting your feet to dance – something that Cosmo’s Midnight are pretty good at. This adaption of style is most obvious on “1 Chance” with DRAMA, where from the get-go there’s a sense of space that can only be likened to other DRAMA tracks. The minimalist style of drop also is relatively new for BAYNK, and is a fresh feel for something that would else have been a bit predictable.
All in all, ADOLESCENCE is a triumphant first outing from BAYNK, with very little, if anything, to faulter. While it may not speak to everyone, his stylistic intelligence and musicality shines through and makes something truly wonderful.