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This new track “COLD HEARTED” by UK based artist “A.J.” makes for a sublime listening experience, particularly when played at volume, through noise-canceling headphones – perhaps as part of a long journey. It’s a beautifully intense few minutes when you let it be just you and the music.

The track appears as much more of a soundscape than a song, especially in terms of structure. The music is gentle but intense; it builds, without getting noisy. The story unfolds, the poetry of it soaks into you, the hypnotic looping of those instruments, and that relaxed, calming, almost whispered vocal performance makes for a mind-altering few minutes.

The musicality of the song has a really light-hearted yet bouncy and hopeful sort of ambiance. The music seems to be a little inspired by the hip-hop sound, a little influenced by rap, hip-hop, and even electronic vibe – in the summertime sounding energy of that synth riff and rhythm. All in all these things make for an unusual type of song, but it sounds great, and A.J.’s voice has a smoothness to it – with just a little of that character indicating croak that makes it his sound, his voice, recognizable and easy to listen to right the way through. The same goes for the rap performance that comes into play later on. It all fits really well within the walls of the track.

Probably the most addictive thing about this track is, as mentioned, that hook – it’s not simply the words and the melody, it’s the rhythm of the line, the variation in what follows, and of course, the verse supporting it – these alternate sections offer a pleasantly strong and calming contrast, which is hugely effective. The lyrics have hope, as does the music itself, and the artist’s voice is just about perfect for this kind of expression.

As hip-hop goes this hits the mark in all the right ways. The energy is kept to that blissful level within which you’re chilled out, but aware – paying attention at all the right times, feeling the good vibes throughout, and taking something of worth away with you when you stop listening. After hearing even just this one track from Topnotch, a further look into his musical catalog seems essential.

The greatness of COLD HEARTED” comes from the well-thought-out balance between substance and sound. The humble nature of the music draws your attention willingly towards the words, and the artist’s voice has such a soothing presentation to it that there’s just no real reason to turn away once you’re involved.