“I find it really difficult to actually explain most of my ideas most of the time, and I think that’s why I actually end up doing them, because I can’t tell you what I want to see so I’ll just make it.”
For a long time Dublin EDM producer EDEN (known to his friends as Jonathan Ng) was one of the best kept secrets in music having amassed a huge online following under the moniker of The Eden Project. But the release of the single Sex (the lead single from the i think you think too much of me EP) in the summer of 2016 would mark the beginning of EDEN’s attempts to become more of a presence in mainstream music.
There was something about the music of Ng that connected with me from the moment I first heard it, and this is something that I tried to articulate in the second ever post that I wrote for this page. As a result, it is hard to remember a music release that I have looked forward to as much as the debut LP by the Dublin man, Vertigo.
Expectations were met and exceeded.
Vertigo is a collection of thirteen songs that see Ng investigate the existential doubt that all of us experience at different times through our lives. As a classically trained violinist, accomplished guitarist and pianist, and innovative EDM artist, Ng is able to create sonic soundscapes unlike anything else that you will hear in mainstream music at the moment and as a result he is able to attribute unique sounds to hard to explain emotions.
The album opens with Wrong, a sonically enthralling articulation of the worries that Ng has about his career abruptly ending when he doesn’t expect it, that flows beautifully into my stand out song on the album, the heartbreaking Take Care. Both tracks investigating the idea of having to be cautious about how you try to fulfil your dreams lest you lose sight of other things.
The theme of endings runs throughout the album as Ng seems aware that while his career is on an upward curve at the moment there will be a time when it will end. Tracks like Icarus are a prime example of the awareness that he has that there is often only one way that a rise like his can end, but when I listen to this song I hear my fears about potentially ruining or unfulfilling the positive things that are happening in my life. The idea that the closer you get to positivity the higher the risk of failure becomes is very prominent, and often the fall comes at a time when you have no one to help you through it.
Fuck me, this song!
The first single that was released to promote the album was the outstanding Start//End, a continuation of the idea of things running their course and eventually ending. While this track is yet another example of the lyrical talents of the Dublin man, it is the instrumentation on this song that I find most interesting. Ng almost seems to chart the progression and journey of a career through the track with the quiet strings-lead opening symbolising the humble beginnings of every artist playing their primary instrument at home. The track then moves into a more sophisticated and complicated middle section of synthesiser and muffled vocals as almost a reflection of the climax of every career, before the track fades out with a subtle guitar riff to stand for the winding down of a career.
Another track on the album that I found to be especially affecting was the crushing Crash, another song about the negative aftermath of a positive event – this time a relationship. It is hard to listen to this song without being dragged into an analysis of all the things that are affecting you in your own life, the sign of quality songwriting.
I think you fucked me up…
Vertigo is an album that I still revisit at least once a fortnight and every time I do I still find something new in it. Take a bow, Jonathan.
“So you tell me how you feel now…”