Nick Zanca, a 19-year-old Columbia College student, is a testament to the power of the Internet as it relates to launching a music career. After anonymously circulating his first musical creations on blogs and YouTube, he is beginning to develop a following as Mister Lies, his stage name. His debut album, “Mowgli,” is a dreamy compilation filled with twists and turns in each track.
Zanca makes no attempt to mask his musical influences, as he bares them front and center. “Mowgli’s” lead-off track, “Ashore,” hints at the percussion-heavy production of SBTRKT and the ever-evolving electronic drones of post-dubstep artist James Blake. The song unfurls with precision and intensity as Zanca crafts a soundscape consisting solely of two alternating synthesizer notes and liquid trickling.
The beauty of “Mowgli” lies in Zanca’s transitions between tracks. Each song melds seamlessly into the next while differentiating between styles. With these transitions, each song is able to retain a distinctive sound but morph slightly to adapt to the following cut. As a result, “Mowgli” is less an album composed of individual songs and more of a unified work.
“Align” showcases Zanca’s ability to jump from the introspective beats and adopt a dance floor-oriented mentality. The track opens with a formidable bass drum beat and a menacing, gnarled synthesizer line. Zanca tinkers with the synthesizer effects throughout the song as it compounds and builds on itself. The result is a demonic dance number fit for slightly more avant-garde clubs.
Zanca has made a favorable first impression with his debut album. If he continues on course, listeners should be expecting good things in the future. Rather than aiming beyond his reach and falling flat with wasted ambition, he exhibits comfort and versatility with “Mowgli.”