Fixtures of Arizona’s experimental trap scene and members of the talented Fallen Kings collective, Irishman Nolan and Ryan Gacy have been carving their own impressive path through music. With a string of unique and wholly contemporary hip-hop singles to their name, the duo has definitely made their mark on 2019. Of their many releases this year, one arguably stands tall above the rest, with the three-track release of ‘Quod Ignis’ encapsulating their sound and laying the foundation for things to come.
Arguably their most accomplished released of the year, ‘Quod Ignis’ is the last of Nolan and Gacy’s ‘Ignis Trio’, following in the footsteps of ‘Lux Ignis’ and ‘Respirare Ignis’, both of which were released earlier this year. Bringing together three new trap anthems, the release is a deceptively nuanced revival of subtle hip-hop influences that the duo has feathered with more atmospheric trap elements, creating a deft and unparalleled mix that is sure to intrigue.
Opening with the title track, ‘Quod Ignis’, the release begins with a textured series of tones that fade into silence, creating an instant atmosphere for the track. It’s a melancholic sound that is enhanced by the subtle industrial sounds of the piece, laying a foundation for poignant and distorted vocals of Nolan and Gacy. With a flat, lingering melody, Nolan’s vocals break through the instrumentals with a growing emotive touch, contrasting Gacy’s more energetic and distorted verse.
Second cut, ‘From the Grave’ features a similarly textured sound, opening with a strained call from Nolan before fading into an overlay of distant rain. Sprinkled with light flickering tones that ebb and flow amongst the wails, the duo has created a far more haunting sound. Somewhat skin to the fading mumble rap scene, there is an enduring uncertainty that heightens the tension in the track, making it an unsettling few minutes that you can’t help being captivated by. With a more cinematic flourish, final track ‘Day 13’ arrives, offering symphonic strings that balance out Nolan’s calls and a perfect platform for the duo to build the song into something truly anthemic.
Musically, it’s hard to fault the duo’s efforts on ‘Quod Ignis’. Every note is well-crafted and helps create a wonderfully engaging atmosphere that you can so easily lose yourself, but questions must be asked about their choice of vocals. While often fitting the tone of the release, there are moments in each song where the auto-tuned distortion overtakes the artists’ own abilities, muddying the sound and distorting the message. It’s an uneasy moment whenever these issues arise, particularly in the opening track, but it’s also a testament to the duo’s songwriting abilities that they don’t dampen the overall quality of each piece.
Without a doubt, one of the most prolific and innovative duos of the year, the partnership of Irishman Nolan and Ryan Gacy has developed a fine platform from which they will undoubtedly flourish.
You can stream ‘Quod Ignis’ above, and be sure to head over to Ryan Gacy’s official Bandcamp page for a free download of the release.
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