His 2020 release, Just Here To Die is an abrasive but instrumentally cheerful mix that without the horrid existential lyrics, could be something that mothers and fathers could fall in love with. That is some of the cheer and charm coming from N8NOFACE as he commands the ears with engaging production but pushes the crowd away as the circle becomes smaller.
Opening with “Frontline,” the quick and warping stitchwork makes N8NOFACE feel light as a feather on his feet. With these simple one-two snaps on the percussion disguised as drum and bass, these side sections of drum breaks create a period pricking up the ears and intently listening to shouts. Describing, “Pray for me on the frontline, pray for me on the frontline,” the short-lived near minute falls to radio static before the boost of “Synthpunk God” bursts through the speakers.
Matching some of that intensity from the introductory track, “Synthpunk God” is rigid but built to splinter when the lo-fi vocals from N8NOFACE fly in. More of a spoken word, the monotone delivery is an opposite display from the instrumental that is more complex, but still has a beat that is easy to follow.
On Just Here To Die, the sounds and texture that N8NOFACE works with are more akin to start a mosh pit or craft fireworks near the stage rather than standing around and listen. Never fearing a boundary, Just Here To Die is a quick nearly 20 minutes of motion that uses a breakneck car crash like the track, “Don’t Die Dtla” to rocket past the audience and burn out in a blaze of excitement.
“Don’t Die Dtla” is the Los Angeles anthem for exploration and avoiding the pitfalls of dying in one of the most congested cities in America. The hometown for N8NOFACE, his love letter is a little bit different describing, “I don’t want to die, here in Downtown LA. Babe, keep me away, away.” Uniting some of the strangest ideas of bedroom synth and the beauty of hardcore elements, N8NOFACE finds some magic on Just Here To Die.
With 19 tracks total on this beast of a listing, one of the final tracks, “Like We Are Gonna Die” is a real change in the emotional tonality on Just Here To Die. It trades the rapid-fire machine gun of an instrumental and peels apart to find a tank which is more sluggish, but hits much heavier. Like a bomb attached to a cinderblock, the bass cracks the shell of the chest first and then explodes in this arrangement of hi-hats and frantic snares.
While N8NOFACE’s delivery is calming in an odd but drained way. Leading Just Here To Die into the tunnel of everlasting light, “Like We Are Gonna Die” sends the listener off into this stoned, but relaxed and accepting nature of the music being cut off and everything going black.
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