The opener, “And Still” is bumping, yet smooth and silky, proffering a glimpse of what’s in store in the sumptuous moments of the record still to come. “You Never Know” introduces a classically styled ambient piano with trap drums in a sublime blend of bang and melody. “Why Me” brings on rattling hi-hats, murmuring basslines and gentle waves synth ambiance.
The title track, “The Hold Up”, is almost symphonic in its introductory approach, until the repeating piano motif and percussion brings it into the 21st century urban idiom. It’s as wonderful as it sounds. “Faces” bangs even harder, but still maintains MASE SAM JACKSON’s smooth piano vibe over the top. It’s a unique style that’s fluid and biting simultaneously.
The twirling keyboard runs add an otherworldly tone to the slow—burning hip-hop beat of “Pepp Talk”, while the gorgeous piano dominates the soundscape of “St. Drop Off”. The final track, “Run Jump” flips the sonic template, with the introduction of stringed instruments, giving the piece an exotic feel. Despite containing grin-inducing grooves and shimmering production, the persistent mood on this album is Iaidback.
This feeling is brought out skillfully in the album’s minimal structure; mainly built on pianos, percussion and synth pads. Everything just clicks into place. MASE SAM JACKSON has crafted an understated, yet stunning musical set. Woozy introspection and melodic motifs coil around the beats in intoxicating atmospheres that feel like distant memories playing in real-time.
In “The Hold Up…”, a nexus of styles and influences are carefully assembled into highly nostalgic yet totally fresh instrumentals.