The future of trance has arrived, and his name is Nhato. We at LessThan3 have been die-hard ambassadors of the sound of Nhato since we first came across Tokyo Blue Pipe near the beginning of our site’s life. Now that he has presented a snapshot of the full breadth of his talent with his debut album Etude, we almost feel like proud parents watching their child come of age. If you are a fan of the more melodic, emotional side of dance music, this may be one of the best album offerings since Above & Beyond’s Tri-State. Yes, it’s that serious.
Etude starts out with Hello World, a perfect marriage of electro and melodic elements that still is not quite enough preparation for what is to come. Gossip follows–a high-octane, talking bass destroyer of a track that has to be heard to be believed. The album continues on a cross-genre journey between electro, house, and trance perfectly suited for what the ears of the masses have already been primed to hear. Asuka was designed from the ground up to be the track in the set that brings the energy to the next level–I could definitely hear people like Mat Zo, Arty, and Sander van Doorn dropping this one.
4th Planet and Another Morning flirt with soulful, piano house sounds, leading into the most radio-ready track of the album, Moonquake featuring Otographic Music cohort Hiroyuki ODA. Thick, pulsing lead chords and dark melodies make this prime Armin van Buuren set material, and wouldn’t ya know it, the man himself dropped the track on A State Of Trance episode 568.
Perhaps the most musically impressive tracks of Etude come at the end with Himmelslied and the title track. The former incorporates a triumphant choral recording and mindblowing changes in time signature that somehow still manage to fit themselves into a standard 32-bar pattern. The latter closes out the album with chords so uplifting, you’re likely to just ascend into the sky upon listening.
It takes a lot for me to listen to an entire album on repeat, but since I received Etude in my inbox a little over a month ago, I have not been able to turn it off. I wholeheartedly believe that Nhato is among the best of the best electronic music producers in the world, and I do not make this statement lightly. If you are skeptical, just press play on the tracks provided on this post, stream the entire album here, and buy the album here. I will personally come to your house and cook dinner for you and yours if you disagree with me. Etude, out now on LessThan3 and Otographic Music.