Last time Philippines-based artist No Rome featured on YES/NO was quite a while ago – it was his emotive song 'Heaven', written about the tragic and untimely passing away of a friend, that not only caught the attention of the brain connected to the ears that live on the same body as the fingers typing these words, but that also provided an earworming melody that is still hummed and sung infrequently to this day. If that's what counts as a successful song, then 'Heaven' was a huge success indeed.
This time around he has surprise-dropped a track with a nice long title that also rhymes: 'i spend endless days thinking of different ways'. Sampling Trey Songz and referencing Slowdive in the lyrics, No Rome once again displays his knack for creating a thick blanket of sounds, luscious and floating, textured and bristling with gently merging melodic mists; ostensibly this begins as an ultra-chilled version of an R&B slow jam, chiming clouds of sound and his indomitable talent for pop vocal patterns helping the surge of flavours all the more tasty.
Hints of percussion and fragmented beats appear but it's not until halfway that snappy, understated beat appears alongside interwoven pitch-shifted vocal sample clusters — then inexplicably and without warning, the song shifts up a gear and becomes a rollicking cycle of much faster breakbeats, all of it smashed out and abrasive with sparkles of hardcore winking in the crunchy overdriven drums; samples continue to chipmunk-chatter, synths continue to wash and glisten, all until the track fades abruptly into a harsh velcro of actual wall of scathing white noise for the finale.
A massive surprise and a welcome switch between genres that not only keeps the listener on their toes, but shows huge potential for an artist who has already shown himself to be (seemingly) effortlessly multi-styled – and all without it jarring. It blends – and that's what we like.
- No Rome is part of Philippines collective YoungLiquidGang, which also counts amongst its members Ulzzang Pistol, Local Disk (C:) and Valiant Vermin.