Review Summary: Turbine’s debut EP lays a strong foundation for the young artist, and if he can manage to focus his appealing quirks, he may well be on the way to an exciting future in hip-hop’s underground scene.
Turbine is a solo alternative hip-hop artist, hailing from the south-east suburbs of Melbourne, Australia; he is about as far from any kind of hip-hop/rap scene as one could be.
I’ll leave it up to the individual listener to decide if this removal from potential peers helps or hinders the artist, but I will say that his 4 track debut, “Mixed Up”, is well worth a listen.
Turbine uses very limited and low end studio gear and instruments to craft what is a surprisingly listenable collection of left of centre hip-hop tracks.
He manages to artfully weave (and sometimes furiously smash) guitar lines that could be found on any metalcore/numetal record, with deliberately auto-tuned clean passages - all the while keeping everything grounded in rap and hip-hip.
The short and sweet EP kicks off with “Listen” – a dark and twisted tour of a psychopath’s mind. The lyrics paint an uncomfortable and confronting picture of lust and revenge. The creepy and muffled piano riff backed up by a bass-heavy and brooding beat, mixes well with Turbine’s voice as he slowly loses control and sounds more and more like the lunatic he is describing. Serious *** – a good choice for an opener.
“Monsters”, a track about the effects war has on a soldier, is introduced with a deceivingly calm synth chord progression, before ripping into Turbines voice. The verses are made up of alternating screams, growls, and clean raps, and the vocals sit slightly back in the mix to let the crunchy de-tuned metal riffs poke their head up – all flowing beautifully to create a couple of solid and technically impressive verses.
The chorus is catchy as hell, desperately singing telling the listen to “RUN!” – definitely among the highlights of the EP, with a simple but effective auto-tuned melody which begs to be sung along to.
“Find Away” finally lets you breathe, even if it is just briefly. Turbine starts off rapping about being in a car, with no place to go, just wanting to get away. As the verse carries on, we feel a sense of empathy and frustration – the kind that is instantly relatable. The guitar drones in the background sound almost like a Deftones riff.
Turbine mixes rapping and yelling with clean singing, keeping you involved and listening in close, because of the interesting way the phrasing is arranged.
The second verse features first timer “Mr. James”, probably a friend of Turbine. While his voice and delivery isn’t as strong or focused as Turbine’s, he still gets the intended emotion and sincerity across in his short verse.
The final track is the most commercially accessible, and also the most well rounded of the 4 songs.
“World’s Turnin’” is a soft and almost RnB-esqe piece about love and loss. Featuring established rapper Hopsin
, Turbine has crafted a short but heartfelt track with beautiful melodies and verses that hit home without even trying. While this is the least intense part of the EP in terms of aggression, it’s the most emotive and relatable song by far.
Turbine’s debut EP lays a strong foundation for the young artist, and if he can manage to focus his appealing quirks, he may well be on the way to an exciting future in hip-hop’s underground scene.