With stomping drums, rumbling bass lines, and celestial synths, MASE SAM JACKSON’s “The Hold Up…” makes an expansive record for intensive times. In recent years, the producer, has cultivated a creative persona to complement his kaleidoscopic compositions. This endearing creative streak never compromises his acute talents, and laser sharp focus, across his ambitious arrangements. However, this streak trickles into his musicality via recurring motifs that consistently crop-up in MASE SAM JACKSON’s discography, and especially on the “The Hold Up…”
Deft and smooth bass lines? Absolutely. Amazing, rattling percussion, hi-hats and handclaps? You best believe. Smoothly charged keyboard parts that soothe and inspire? More than likely. Aside from these fail-safes, it’s the out-of-character moments where the listener strikes gold and takes solace. Apart from the opening instrumental, most of the other tracks are under the 4 minute mark, never overstaying their welcome.
These eight tracks tread towards melodic and harmonic soundscapes stabilized by MASE SAM JACKSON’s idiosyncratically dense percussion, a foundation which enables a myriad of smoothly-toned keyboard textures to take center-stage. The warm resonance of the piano is a recurring element which drives these instrumental pieces.
“The Hold Up…” certainly takes the listener’s needs into consideration by counteracting the melodic motifs and thick beats, with introspective ruminations, woven into sultry arrangements. With MASE SAM JACKSON tempering the constantly shifting sonic plains, the listener is presented with a gloriously rewarding stretches of tonal stability throughout the record.
The opener, “And Still” is bumping, yet smooth and silky, proffering a glimpse of what’s in store in the sumptuous moments of the record still to come. “You Never Know” introduces a classically styled ambient piano with trap drums in a sublime blend of bang and melody. “Why Me” brings on rattling hi-hats, murmuring basslines and gentle waves synth ambiance.
The title track, “The Hold Up”, is almost symphonic in its introductory approach, until the repeating piano motif and percussion brings it into the 21st century urban idiom. It’s as wonderful as it sounds. “Faces” bangs even harder, but still maintains MASE SAM JACKSON’s smooth piano vibe over the top. It’s a unique style that’s fluid and biting simultaneously.
The twirling keyboard runs add an otherworldly tone to the slow-burning hip-hop beat of “Pepp Talk”, while the gorgeous piano dominates the soundscape of “St. Drop Off”. The final track, “Run Jump” flips the sonic template, with the introduction of stringed instruments, giving the piece an exotic feel. Despite containing grin-inducing grooves and shimmering production, the persistent mood on this album is laidback.
This feeling is brought out skillfully in the album’s minimal structure; mainly built on pianos, percussion and synth pads. Everything just clicks into place. MASE SAM JACKSON has crafted an understated, yet stunning musical set. Woozy introspection and melodic motifs coil around the beats in intoxicating atmospheres that feel like distant memories playing in real-time.
In “The Hold Up…”, a nexus of styles and influences are carefully assembled into highly nostalgic yet totally fresh instrumentals.