“‘It may sound corny, but love is the answer.” These are the words spoken in the intro, setting the tone for the Eliezer Apfel‘s hip hop album ‘Love Me’. You can clearly hear the love that has gone into this release. Each beat is its own, and given the mostly low tempo and aural space, you can sense every sound was carefully picked, rather than just thrown into the mix with a refreshing blend of new and old school drum sounds.
Hailing from the UK, now relocated to Auckland’s North Shore, Eliezer’s sound is refreshingly mellow, evidently drawing inspiration from British hip hop and neo-soul to create something original and mostly unlike what’s currently the hip hop norm in Aotearoa. Toeing the line between singer and rapper, with a smooth voice and a range of flows Eliezer treats the beat as a canvas on which to paint a picture, as opposed to a document to fill with words. The lyricism is simple yet effective, with an up-front earnestness reminiscent of artists such as Cosmo Pyke or Loyle Carner.
Released late in 2020, this is Eliezer’s second album and the development is noticeable, with improvements across the board in production and mixing, as well as in songcraft. The vibe of the project could be described as ethereal, with a tone that is serious but still playful.
It feels like a collaborative effort and is as much producer Ten.Oh’s album as it is Eliezer’s, with a number of subtle production touches in there rewarding the repeat listener. Everything has been carefully recorded, and there is an excellent mix/master across the whole project. The vocal processing throughout the album is expressive and creative in its use of panning and pitch shifting, exemplified especially on Trippy and Complicated.
Anarchy is a particularly experimental tune, juxtaposing auto-tuned vocals with an instrumental reminiscent of 2000s post-punk revival music, providing an effect that is jarring but memorable. The balance between rapping and singing across the project is good, and this variety helps keeps the listener engaged from track to track. At times it does feel more like a mixtape collection of songs than an album, but they’re all great songs. Definitely someone to watch.