Contour’s Onwards! is one of the more soulful, reflective and poignant albums you’ll hear this year

Over the last few years, South Carolina-based artist Contour has been growing into one of the most exciting new voices in R&B. With his incredibly soothing and mesmeric voice, often complemented by delicate, moody and serene production, he’s able to evoke deeply emotive and soulful tone to his music, often a reflection of his own state of mind, exploring the journey and weight of black art both past and present.

His new album Onwards! is his most defined and complete to date, with stunning compositions that are pure and captivating to no end – an immersive listening experience that stands out as one of the most memorable albums to come out this year. Self-produced for the most part, with additional production from the likes of Swarvy, 10.4 ROG, Omari Jazz and Silentjay. The opener “From Exile – 3rd Ward” sets the tone for the album beautifully, with a guitar and synth-led melody that is just incredibly potent and emotive, with the subtle beat change offering more life to the track. “N***a Won’t Reach Mars” is one of the highlights for me. The guitar melody and basslines on this one are truly hypnotic, as his poetic and immersive lyrics, singing “space is not the place” make for a reflective listen. The light and euphoric “Pack Light” and the organic, jazzy “Babe Brother” are both special too. The former has warm synth-led melodies with Contour’s incredibly powerful voice giving the track so much life, while the latter has these almost spoken word-like verses that reflect on his state of mind, love and exploration. Influenced by poets, writers, and theorists involved in the black arts movement, his lyrics carry so much weight and you can feel that throughout the album. It gains more dynamism from “Eke No More” onwards, with groovy beats that make for a more energetic final few tracks. Semiratruth’s feature on “Repossess” is a highlight as well, as they flow effortlessly over the smooth and meandering beat, with an empowering verse that adds so much to the overall tone of the track, with grooves that are infectious and incredibly engaging throughout. “Crowded Afternoon” is fantastic, while “At All” closes the album out with incredible basslines and Contour’s self-assessing lyrics that make for a poignant and fitting closer to a concise and cohesive body of work.

Contour has really excelled with Onwards!, an album that studies his own state of mind and the observations he makes on the world he, and the Black community as a whole, occupies. It’s one of the smoothest, most soulful and reflective albums to come out this year, and I’m happy to see him continue to shine artistically – this is only the beginning!

Released via Touching Bass.

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by. I run In Search Of Media with the aim of giving a platform to independent beatmakers, rappers and talented musicians. I also hope to make this a home for music discovery, interesting film analysis, exhibition reviews and other interesting content for all of you guys to dive in to. I hope to start a podcast and documentary-style project soon. If you're looking to be a part of this creative project, please go to the contact page and drop me an email, or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I also write for 'Music Is My Sanctuary.' Thanks šŸ™

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