Six years ago, Jonathan Ng began his musical career under the moniker The Eden Project, an experiment that featured him uploading his various songs to online accounts. He racked up an impressive fan base of nearly 200,000 followers on the music-sharing platform, SoundCloud, alone. Ng changed his alias to EDEN following the release of “Final Call,” and began recording new work in the spring of 2015.
With three EPs to his name, EDEN signed with the major label UMG Recordings, based in Santa Monica, California. Ng was seemingly ready to break into the mainstream music scene with his debut LP “vertigo”– a record rooted in synth-laced, electronic pop and unshakable heartbreak. EDEN’s debut album sparks a new breed of music that frankly, hasn’t been tapped before.
“vertigo” is at its peak when Ng experiments with the album’s production. There is a moment during the seventh song in the album titled ‘crash,’ for example, where his low-registered vocals cut out and transform into the high-pitched digitized passage, “you’re not who you think you are” It’s utter brilliance and something that has never been done before.
As with a majority of electronic records, there is an emphasis on production to focus on the artist’s creative strengths. Ng accomplishes this with the borderline industrial detour he takes the listener on during ‘icarus’ alongside the flourishing string-laden introduction in ‘take care.’ And, you’ll be pulled in by the additive rhythm and percussive energy of ‘gold.’ These moments draw you into EDEN’s vision. Through Ng’s focus on the production of his debut album, he compiles the album into a dynamic and meaningful collection of ideas.
For the majority of the fifty-two minute album, “vertigo” cycles through the murky and reverb breakup themes that give it the style EDEN is so praised for by his fans. As Ng said, “I made ‘vertigo’ for myself, by myself, and maybe it can be for you.” The sleepy vibe of the entire album is all a façade he creates with an artfully depressed monotone that he is famous for.
The highlights of the tracklist include the single ‘gold,’ which is by far the most energetic song on the album (its bass and finger-clicking chorus offers one of the highlight), and ‘forever//over’, which features starry, dream-like instrumentation harkens back to previous EDEN EPs.
The good news is that Jonathan Ng is only 22 years old, and still has plenty of time to develop his craft, experiment, collaborate and grow as an artist. However, for the highly anticipated debut album, “vertigo” surpasses all expectation. The musical rhythmic magic pokes its head up constantly in every track, and now it’s up to Ng to produce another outstanding album to follow up the magic that is vertigo.
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