To the untrained eyes and ears, the basement electronic and punk musical style that N8NOFACE protrudes might seem daunting and the foreboding illustrations of the Los Angeles slums. The off-key vocals that open up his newest project, Willie Test : A Story of Cocaine and Steroids feels off-putting and even ill-spoken. It is until the further inspections does it show a humanistic side behind the chaos of life-support wires and machines keeping N8NOFACE alive.
“Boredom Kills” delivers a sudden rush of collective synthetic sounds into what appears to be a creeping and dominating use of production. From the 808’s that pump and seem to warp around the listener in a constricting fashion until the explosive launch of snare and bass that resembles a hardcore influence. This is where N8NOFACE starts to conflict within the art and display a stranger side to music. Willie Test : A Story of Cocaine and Steroids feels familiar and handmade, almost as if N8NOFACE is a carpenter but instead of hammers and wood, he uses computers and motherboards. The way that the MPC’s are structured to receive rather than create, allowing for a wall of sound to instantly clap against the listener and become something more than just an auditory experience.
The Los Angeles location feels more as a backdrop for Willie Test : A Story of Cocaine and Steroids where the sunshine areas are drowned by an immense darkness. There are moments of catchy, almost pop-style however as the track “Out” starts to form. Hearing the synth that is simple, but almost cascading that then bounces into the even simpler percussive set of snare and bass that bounces along and feels more broken and personal than previous tracks. Something that is more relatable and understandable to a wider audience, where the indie-lovers and basement dwellers can join arms in a love-stricken, heartbroken example of musical athleticism.
Where N8NOFACE seems to feel the most comfortable however is in the mosh-pits where he can be shouting “Flesh and Blood” over the one-two step beats of robotic percussion. It is persuasive and paints a vivid sense of seedy underbelly parties where a noise-concert just happens to be occurring at the same time. Willie Test : A Story of Cocaine and Steroids feels very New York in the way it has become a strange, almost Brooklyn mess of release. But location does not matter as much as the way that the sound is orchestrated and granted upon.
If artists like HO99O9 strike your interest, of which N8NOFACE has done work with previously; then Willie Test : A Story of Cocaine and Steroids is going to be nothing out of the ordinary. For the ones who have never seen knife fights in a Brooklyn basement while some screaming 808’s play in the background, then it is going to be a wild and dangerous ride.