Wanna hear an artist from the Upstate Sound?
Following his 2020 EP Aggro, the sprawl of Grasshopper showcases Bleaux’s most definitive sound(s) and styles.
The digital bit-crusher/chiptune effect on every beat helps the synthesized basslines bear their fangs, as with the industrial gurgles of bass in “Suneater” or the slow pulse in “Untethered.” The beastly snarls peak in “Zerotonin,” but there are plenty of other savage vocals throughout.
It’s a violent record, but not always. The bass-drop in “Right Knee” alone would slap Skrillex so hard in the face the sky would rain with lip piercings — but “New Leaf” depicts Bleaux from a gentler angle, emo-rap that borders on the verge of alternative R&B. Several tracks even exhibit elements of jazz (“Magic Carpet,” “Any Weather,” and “Whom the Horns Sing”) which add the atmosphere of a lounge rather than a rave.
So Grasshopper isn’t just about shock value, it has contrast. The slamming club beats and shrieking vocals may be part of the whole horrorcore shtick, but Bleaux has more than venom in his heart. And more than a heart, he has a mind.
There are intellectual choices to his musical dynamics that bring Bleaux to his roots. The most obvious of which is the instrumental callbacks to his first album, Intergalactic Ghost Federation, in the beatscapes “Heaven // Hell” and “Love // Other,” through which the listener can reflect on what they’ve heard in the album thus far.
After his EP, Bleaux has made quite the impression as a developing voice in the Nashville hardcore hip-hop scene, and it’s likely that the voice is only getting stronger.
It’s such an endearing quality to see an artist willing to improve and to do so consciously and actively. If there were anything I’d say to Bleaux now directly, it’d be:
“You are growing well, young grasshopper. I don’t know your sensei, but they’ve taught you well.”