- The producer also known as Bwana steps up with his most personal tracks to date.
- On the A-side of Nathan Micay's Whities debut, there's a synth that might sound familiar. Weepy, string-like tones hang over "First Casualty" in a way that echoes Avalon Emerson's breakthrough track, "The Frontier," which also came out on Whities. There's some visual crossover, too—the open road was a major theme of both videos. (Emerson, it's worth noting, was playing "First Casualty" as early as Sónar 2017.) The two tracks are essentially simpatico. But where the mood on "The Frontier" was yearning, "First Casualty" is content. Deep, trancey pads and an insistent synth loop suggest poise and stability. Saturated piano notes idle in the breakdown as though they might stay for the weekend. The prancing melody resolves cheerfully, and has a telltale trill on the third-last note. That's the spring in "First Casualty"'s step.
These tracks, Micay has said, are his "most personal… to date," and were "self-therapy" against "the endless churn of negativity in the news and online." The serene atmosphere on "Beginning Ballads" suggests some cleanse to that effect. The A-side's synth wails resurface here as a pale wash of choir-like chords elevated to impossible registers. Other elements withdraw into supporting roles. The coiling lead evaporates as quickly as it rises. Soft vocal tones drape the stereo field. In a certain light, "Beginning Ballads"'s emptiness could seem unsatisfying—there's not a lot to grab onto in the mids other than that vapoury line. Something about it sticks all the same. With a few EQ adjustments and an incoming track, you can easily imagine it pushing a dance floor over the edge at sunrise. It also sounds exactly like what Micay might've been searching for: a fresh start.
A First Casualty
B Beginning Ballads