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State Of Mind - Nil By Ear Album Review

07 Apr 2011 // A review by sidvicious

I’m not nearly any sort of ‘bass-head’ by any stretch of the imagination, but State of Mind have proven to me once again why I rate them as one of my favourite New Zealand groups. Their new album Nil By Ear is up there with one of the best drum and bass albums to come out of New Zealand, and when you’re among such talent as Shapeshifter and Six60, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment.

I saw State of Mind quite a few times over the summer, and there was one song in particular that I was hoping like heck would be on this album, and lo and behold, it was the opening track. The track is called Vega and features the unparalleled vocals of Shapeshifter’s P.Digsss. Without gushing too much, the song is amazing. And surprisingly, sounds just as good coming through my car stereo as it did live at the Coroglen Tavern with the aid of alcohol and hundreds of other kids. So we’re off to a good start.

Putting your best foot forward on an album can sometimes prove to be its downfall, but Nil By Ear is strong enough to carry the epic first track. Other highlights on the album include Three Dimensions feat. Sacha Vee and Fucking Sellouts.Three Dimensions proves that State of Mind know how to mix lyrics with their instrumental style beautifully; Sacha Vee’s voice is ethereal against the rousing backing track. Fucking Sellouts brings some humour to the album, using a spoken-word sample that mocks the concept of musically selling out (at least I hope that’s what it’s doing).

In addition to P.Digsss, there are a few other pretty impressive artists featuring on the album. The fifth track, Return of the Prophet is a rap-based, hectic tune featuring PNC. I still can’t decide if I like this collaboration or not. It has a very Chemical Brothers feel to it, but the rap seems forced and out of place. In contrast to the P.Digsss cameo, this is probably my least favourite track. But perhaps it just pushes the envelope a little bit too far for my taste.  

All in all, it’s a solid third album. I don’t think I prefer it over their second album Faster Than Light, but perhaps that’s just because there’s more experimentation on Nil By Ear, and taking risks like that is hugely important for any artist.  It is a slightly different sound, but it is generally good-different. I’m of the opinion that electronic acts are always so much stronger when you see them live, so whenever artists can manage to capture that magic in an album, I’m always impressed – and State of Mind have done it with Nil By Ear.

Words by Kate McCarten

Nil By Ear
View Track Listing

About State Of Mind

Founded in 2004, State of Mind is the Drum and Bass duo from New Zealand of Patrick Hawkins and Stu Maxwell

Initially signed to Total Science's CIA label in 2004, the State of Mind discography has rapidly expanded to include labels such as, Teebee's Subtitles Records, Futurebounds Viper label, Doc Scotts 31 Records, Simon Bassline Smiths Technique Recordings, Bad Company, Obsessions, and more.

In 2007 the lads launched their own record label, SOM Music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for State Of Mind


Until The World Ends
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Eat The Rich
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Nil By Ear
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Faster Than Light
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Take Control
Year: 2007
Type: Album

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