It’s one thing to piece sounds together and create a sonically pleasing composition. It takes an entirely different level of ability to, without any sort of lyrical guidance, use sounds as the building blocks to convey a message and tell a story. On Respect: Self, the 4-track EP from Great Dane, the LA-based artist does just that, taking listeners on a spellbinding journey through instrumentation. Coming to life as the musical manifestation of the inner work Dane has been embarking on over the course of the last year, Respect: Self features an eclectic amalgamation of vibrations, coming together in an enthralling fidelity over the course of the EP.
“Hyphy For No Reason” kicks the project off with an uplifting and positive energy, the vibe-laden track knocking hard yet remaining an easy listening experience. You’ll be able to bop your head and dance around the room to your hearts content while “HFNR” plays, but the sonic landscape is never overbearing or overwhelmingly powerful. It’s a fine balance of energy, serving as a reflection of what a healthy lifestyle might look like when one couples the “party” with the “self-care.” Too much in either direction has the potential to take away from a full, happy and healthy experience here in the physical, but bringing the two together opens the door for fulfillment.
“HFNR” is accompanied by a fun, self-directed visual, which features Great Dane encouraging his fans to find that balance. It’s a lighthearted viewing experience that carries with it a powerful underlying message. And it’s great to see Dane showcasing his personality beyond the musical endeavors – dude has an engaging presence that shines through in “HFNR.”
An artist with an always expansive range of vibes, “Me and You” stands out as an ethereal, mellow and atmospheric record. It leaves the listener floating in a comforting abyss, as if everything around you sort of dissipates and you’re left with nothing but the music to keep you company. There’s an “alone but not lonely” essence to “Me and You,” one that comes and goes as the track plays through – we can come together, through authentic connections, when the time is right and then part ways when it’s time to take some space and regenerate.
“Break Yo Self” is the heaviest of the tracks living on Respect: Self, containing that characteristically trappy styling of Great Dane. There’s a lot taking place on the surface and between the layers of this one but, as only Dane can do, it’s all blended majestically. The listener is able to find a peace amongst the chaotic nature of “Break Yo Self,” almost as if we’re reminded of the need to literally and figuratively “break” who we are in order to become the greater version of who we will be. You can’t put the spotlight on the beauty without acknowledging the destruction from which it came.
Complex in its simplicity, Respect: Self comes to a conclusion with “Hypnopotamus.” The final cut radiates with juxtaposing energies, simultaneously sounding and feeling both soft and hard, light and heavy. The joint evolves from an imposing, almost brooding experience to one of celebration and jubilee.
Respect: Self is available now on all streaming platforms. If you missed it last year, enjoy Dane’s Gamma Ray here.
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