Under Review

Vancouver-based pianist Nathan Shubert (they/them) invites us into their world, which seems quite melancholy at first, but there is a simplicity and comfort that is found within. Despite the absence of Shubert’s voice, their remarkable talent speaks for itself. Their artistry is apparent in how they use music to express feeling and emotion. 

The solitude, softness, euphoria, and calm that covers the album is just the beginning of what can be discovered. The music’s experimentation frees the album, creating a whole new sonic dimension. The ominous first track “Shallows” leaves the listener curious and eager to see what can be uncovered. It is the perfect introduction to The Moon From Here as it leaves the listener wanting more, but also unsure where the musical journey will take them. 

I do not often listen to music without vocals, but this absence was very serene and refreshing for a new listener of Shubert’s work. The album shifts with the track If Ever,” which has a more upbeat and positive energy thanks to  a jazz-like influence. This tune adds an element of positivity that was missing previously. “If Ever” acts as the catalyst for  change in the album. 

With its selection of eight unique tracks, The Moon From Here, explores a unique tone. This short album tells a story with its ability to be simple yet powerful. While listening to the album, I tried to figure out what story was being told. 

I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and calm rush over me as the album progressed. There is a sense of loneliness throughout that doesn’t isolate the listener, but allows them to connect to themselves instead. 

This is Shubert’s fourth album within the last seven years — and shows a progression of unique and natural sounds. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and look forward to listening to more of Shubert’s work soon.

In her latest EP, Case Départ, Missy D goes back to her roots, childhood, and French language in a bid to reconnect with the early experiences and influences that shaped her music. The result? A nostalgic collision of pop, hip hop and R&B that is reminiscent of a ‘90s hip-hop flow and groove. The project moves between subjects of grief, loss, childhood, and home. While the EP is primarily in French, it mixes in English vocals and rap in a simple, conversational manner that makes it easy for non-Francophone listeners to pick up on meaning and context.   

The first track “Amuse Bouche” plays more like a fun invitation, moving between French and English as it calls you into the rest of the EP with lines like, “Come and turn it up.” This track paves the way for the next track “Case Départ” which dives into her return to the starting point of her musical journey. The rap and music on this track are fun and bouncy, with lines like, “Ouuu! / Let me drop some French and some English too!” At the same time, the lyrics on this track make space for the introduction of Missy D as a little French speaking child. She does this through lyrics that highlight childhood memories, rhythm, and appreciating the many influences on her sound.

Missy D finds a balance between reflection through her rap, and playfulness through the music as she puts forward questions on finding home and dealing with grief. The artist further accomplishes this through a persistent nostalgic tone that is both explicit in its lyrics and implicit in its melody. Missy D singing, “Home is where I belong / Home is in this song you listening to,” is especially fitting and draws us into the ever shifting and multifaceted identity of what a home is for her. 

In beautiful contrast, the EP moves between softer, more reflective R&B tracks and energetic and strong hip-hop tracks like “Get Going” and “Back and Forth.” One of the standout tracks must be “Au Dela” which translates to ‘beyond.’. This track is both soothing and heartbreaking. Sung entirely in French, emotion permeates through the beautiful and well-paced lyrics, leaving you in an equal place of sadness and hope. 

Case Départ, skillfully combines bilingualism, rap, and vocals to move us through the highs and lows as she journeys back to her starting point, remembers her defining experiences, and reintroduces herself with a rejuvenated outlook on home, grief, and purpose. By diving deep into her specific experiences, Missy D creates an even more relatable story, with great musicality to back it up.