The five standout moments on Paces’ new album, ‘ZAG’
For years, PACES has worked at forming his own lane in an incredibly dense national music industry. His ability to give rambunctious, sunshine-filled electronic music and dash it with just the right amount of pop and hip-hop is unmatched.
But now, on his second studio album ZAG, Paces‘ prowess shines brighter than it ever has before. Every track is drenched in sunlight, as per usual, but he has elevated things to a completely higher level. His production is sharp and meticulous, his features are quirky yet fitting and overall it’s a record that goes against the grain while still feeling refreshingly familiar.
As you float through each passing wave of ZAG, the real essence of who Paces (real name Mikey Perry) is an artist washes over you and floods every vein. Paces is an artist that is daring, but optimistic. The thumping, heart-rattling beats that underlay tracks like ‘Siren’ are given glossy new makeovers with radiant synths and energy-filled melodies. The brass-influenced undertones that peek throughout ZAG are only amplified with the vast array of vocalists he recruited, whether it’s the smooth airy vocals of Sydnee Carter, the party-ready cool of Nyne or even the rich soulfulness of Guy Sebastian. More than anything, though, in an entire genre that seems to be heading down a minimalist, less-is-more path, Paces is giving us unashamedly and unapologetically colossal production.
There’s a lot to unpack from ZAG, but here are five standout moments that prove, no matter whether he zigs or zags, Paces is still winning the race.
1. The glorious intro from Flex Mami
Notorious zagger/all-around icon FlexMami is the first voice we hear on ZAG, in the aptly titled ‘Zag, Binch’, and she’s loosely reading her own damn tweet that sets up the entire ethos of the album. Iconic.
WHEN EVERYONE EXPECTS YOU TO ZIG, JUST ZAG BINCH
— FlexMami (@flexmami) 10 January 2017
2. The pop/hip-hop balancing act on ‘Technique’
Paces recruited ex-GRL member Emmalyn and Sydney rapper Jeida Woods for this masterclass on fusing pop, hip-hop and electronic music together, and talk about a trifecta. Paces‘ production is thumping and powerful, but doesn’t overshadow Emmalyn’s silky smooth vocals or Woods’ spitfire raps.
3. The crunchy production on ‘TBH’
Out of all the tracks on ZAG, ‘TBH’ showcases Paces‘ skills like no other…tbh. The slingshot-like pull back of those rapid-fire drumpad sounds combusting into a crunching, gritty synth-laden chorus is something that is so quintessentially Paces, yet feels very fresh.
4. The entirety of ‘Call The 5-0’
It would so have at that the album’s recent single ‘Call The 5-0’ is the true highlight of ZAG, but it is simply faultless. Tapping the ever-effortless Midas.Gold for the verses, Tigerilla for the hook and Health Club to help Paces out on production, this proves that four heads are better than one. The fun that beams from this track is evident of the bouncing of ideas that must’ve been had in the studios. This, in all senses, is what a collaboration should feel like. Despite there being lots of people involved, none of it feels forced or stiff. Everything flows smoothly and the end result is magical.
5. Paces saying ‘skin flopper tube’ at the end of ‘Another Day’
ZAG is out now via ETCETC MUSIC. You can catch Paces on his massive, nationwide ZAG album tour. Full deets below.
Friday, 9th November
Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Saturday, 10th November
Northcote Social Club, Northcote
Friday, 16th November
The Lair, Sydney
Saturday, 17th November
Torquay Hotel, Torquay
Friday, 23rd November
The Foundry, Brisbane
Saturday, 24th November
Beach Hotel, Byron Bay
Friday, 30th November
The Beery, Terrigal
Saturday, 1st December
Carmens Nightclub, Miranda
Sunday, 2nd December
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Friday, 7th December
Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth
Friday, 14th December
Subconscious DJ Set, Mackay
Saturday, 15th December
Very Casual DJ Set, Townsville
Friday, 21st December
Elsewhere Bar, Gold Coast
Saturday, 22nd December
Words by JACKSON LANGFORD
Image: Mitch Lowe