Nick Hook’s first full length debut is a 16 track fusion of 80s synth sounds and bassy hip hop tracks together with a nice array of guest features that doesn’t disappoint. Ironically entitled Relationships, it features a host of collaborations and guest appearances throughout, notably the late DJ Rashad who worked with Nick before his untimely death in 2014 and features on the opening and final track of the album. UK Grime MC Novelist also makes an appearance along with Deftones’ Chino Moreno amongst many others.
The album’s style is an eclectic mix of electronic, hip hop dance beats, which are not easy to define because of their versatile arrangements. This is partially down to the large array of guest features, with each track seemingly tailored to accommodate the artist. That said, the vibe of the album never seems to stray, with every track comfortably sitting side by side, never feeling disjointed like a mixtape.
The opening track +3 featuring DJ Rashad, DJ Paypal and Nasty Nigel introduces the listener to an atmospheric piece, reminiscent of early Detroit techno, and took me back to UK drum and bass innovator LTJ Bukem’s early work. In addition to this on, Another Way featuring Spank Rock, he manages to conjure the spirit of upbeat 80s electro-funk, which highlights Nick Hook’s proficiency on the boards. However, he also shows his ability to slow it down on the ambient cover of The Cure track Lovesong featuring Nasty Nigel, which is testament to his experimental nature and versatility.
With Infinite Loop featuring DJ Rashad, Chino Moreno and Nasty Nigel, Hook enters cinematic soundtrack territory with melancholic, thought provoking arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place in a feature film. It’s almost transcendent, and again shows his appeal to a wider audience.
Bringing it back to a more contemporary vibe, he serves bass heavy, club banging tracks such as Gucci’s featuring 24hrs and Head featuring 21 Savage & Bulletproof Dolphin which is sure to appease the younger generation, and on Can’t Tell Me Nothing featuring Novelist he delivers a powerful UK grime track, that Novelist shines on.
The different music genres and influences that can be heard throughout, shows his appreciation for a wide range of music and respect for the art form. But more importantly, he manages to execute these tracks with an assured mastery, and with his own identity. All in all it’s a very good debut album, which doesn’t feel too long, and leaves you interested and excited to see what musical journey he will decide to embark on next.
Nick Hooks Relationships is available to listen via his Soundcloud page