London-born & basedd visual artist, filmmaker and poet Nadeem Din-Gabisi has established himself as one of the most promising independent artists the vastly diverse and eclectic city has to offer. Through various collaborations over time with the Touching Bass crew and Sampa The Great to name a few, he has carved his own unique sound that combines smooth, mellow guitar, bass and key-driven melodies, with electronic influences throughout his work that we’ll get to here. Together with Coby Sey and MettaShiba, he has released his intricate, introspective and sonically dense debut album POOL, a project that looks into his childhood experiences growing up, a spiritual body of work that is colourful and occasionally dark, but with introspection that makes it fascinating to listen to from front to back.
The album kicks off with “Shallow”, a slow-paced, mellow electronic opener, with mesmeric keys and percussive instrumentation that sucks me in fully into his world. With a lot themes of life and death, moulding his own self through growth. Water is the theme of the album. Life grows in water, and Nadeem has really been able to effectively paint a poignant picture of his state of mind through imagery and constant references to swimming, drowning, and just being in water. Growth is what this album preaches, and overcoming traumas and other difficult moments as a point of strength. “Deep End” kicks off with these infectious Afrobeat rhythms, with the percussion and drumming really being the pulse of the track, with Nadeem’s usually animated voice kicking off with “I was swimming in the deep end” and an incredible few verses that are just incredibly dense and thoughtful. The electronic synths on “Poolside View” are incredible, with the dynamic, almost techno-heavy drumming capturing Nadeem’s visceral verses that have him reflect on some of his more difficult moments in his life, with a fiery hook too that makes it a clear highlight. The lighter “Holy Wata” is another stellar track, with a hypnotic melody and Nadeem’s infectious delivery that sees him blessed from holy water. “Splash” featuring Coby Sey’s soothing vocals is another soulful and uplifting track that captures the heart of the artist, who’s vulnerabilities shine through, not only throughout this track but the album as a whole. The dark and unassuming “Pour” has this amazing broken-beat, with Nadeem’s forward, intricately composed verses that capture his eclecticism as an artist. It’s probably my favourite track on the album, and he kicks his second verse with a bang – “They say crying is a female hobby, can’t be a man with a female hobby, gonna hurt someone with all those tears, stinging all of our shoes (?), confirming all our fears”. “Drowning” is a short and mellow track, while the piano-led “Shore” leads to the beautiful “Mami Wata”, with its Afrobeat, percussion-heavy drumming and grooves, and the subtle keys and guitar grooves capturing the warmth and soul of Nadeem’s artistry. “Exit” closes the album out with a melodic, reflective tone, as Nadeem reflects on his growth through water, and looking ahead to his future dreams and aspirations.
Nadeem Din-Gabisi, Coby Sey and MettaShiba have combined for an incredibly beautiful, melodic, rhythmic and poetic body of work, looking into the world of Nadeem, and painted with sonics by his talented collaborators. POOL is a deep, introspective and textured album capturing Nadeem Din-Gabisi’s poetic genius over a sonically animated and eclectic soundscape that brings a welcome and inviting energy. Go support it below!