Juelz’ “Paradise Lost EP” is an emotional and poignant journey through loss and triumph over grief through six unique tracks. The songs each have distinctly trap-oriented rhythms and percussion while employing a restrained use of heavier distorted sounds so the focus remains on the massive chords and strong driving melodies. The name of the EP itself and the concepts explored are directly related to the fall of man and the original sin as depicted in the epic poem by John Milton of the same name. This EP deserves to be listened to in order because each song seamlessly transitions into the next.

The first track, “Exile”, starts with a more club-oriented hip-hop vibe. The main focus is a very unique electronic pluck sound complimenting auto-tuned vocals. The drums are more minimal with big 808 bends moving the groove and subtle hats laying down the traditional triplet patterns. The song concludes with an engaging melodic progression using a detuned saw-wave, introducing an interesting 80s meets new-schools energy.

“Paradise Lost” follows up the more club-oriented Exile with epic frisson-inducing future bass. Emotion really pours off of each section for this one. It has layers of intense stabs, a persistent bassline, and hair-raising vocal chops. The second section introduces an all-encompassing brass horn, which was once a cornerstone for the hybrid-trap/future bass genre. Overall, this song proves that you can still use established motifs from these genres such as the sharp melodic stabs or heroic horns to create very fresh and moving pieces of music.

“All Through the Night”, which was described as the focus for the EP, truly delivers an ambitious climax for this series of tracks. This one represents Lucifer’s fall to Hell after being cast out of Heaven. Every layer from the drums to the chords and vocal chops is lush and well-defined. Each phrase ends with a gritty ripping sound, almost like a broken needle across a record, which serves to contrast the flowing and bending chord progressions. The vocals don’t really say anything and yet they are speaking right to you using a call and response between the melody and counter-melody. 

The next track, “Inferno,” serves as a more upbeat follow-up for “All Through the Night.” The melody is driven by a plucky marimba sound and some classic soul vocals repeating “I’m losing my feeling.” It’s one of the most defined uses of lyrics in this release and there is a strong dichotomy between the vocals and the almost tropical-sounding melody. Definitely, a melancholy yet euphoric feeling that you can expect to hit hard on the dancefloor. 

“Colours,” featuring LA-based producer and vocalist Pauline Herr, helps provide more poppy and summery energy to this collection of evocative tracks. Pauline’s lyrics help provide a more clear narrative about breaking up, moving on, and watching someone change over time. Distorted chops from her voice help move between each verse with a stabby bass melody underneath. The percussion for the upbeat section is fast and breaky which distinguishes it from the slower vocal sections. 

The outro for the EP “Hail, Horrors!” is an ambient and well-deserved conclusion for this body of work. It has a downtempo hip hop rhythm, low off-tune melodic progression, and some samples you heard throughout the other songs. The elements build to deliver a quote from the 17th-century epic poem, Paradise Lost by John Milton, which serves as this release’s inspiration. The quote is as follows:

“Farewell, happy fields/Where joy forever dwells: hail horrors, hail/Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell/Receive thy new possessor: one who brings/A mind not to be changed by place or time./The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Crates I’m putting this EP into: Epic Trap, In My Feelings, Moody Boi

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