Charbel showcases assured grasp of groove and funk with his newest release 'WAVY'
South Coast artist Charbel has released his first single for 2022, the dynamic and vivacious ‘WAVY’. The track marks Charbel’s first solo release since 2020 and follows up his feature on Brisbane artist MiCCY’s 2021 single ‘Long Run’. Throughout his discography, the soulfully-enhanced Charbel has demonstrated a continued sophistication in his groove, musicality and overall production, both as a solo artist and as a part of the always impressive Boomchild collective. Charbel’s personality is very prominent in ‘WAVY’, which perhaps points to him having found a sound which unearths his greatest attributes as an artist.
The production by fellow Boomchild member James Baldwin is impeccable and matches Charbel’s vibe with an intricate mixture of beats, rhythms and space along with a balanced and well mastered sound as a whole. The production conveys that retro-soul inspired type of sound with a neo twist, along with the classic modern R&B vibe. This song depicts Charbel trying to find himself through his experiences in not wanting to be complacent in this lifetime and doing what needs to be done on this new wavelength without falling for his vices and drifting onto an unwanted path.
The song starts with a funky and groovy palm muted guitar riff with chorus effect accompanied by a subtle flute-like melodic sound. The intricate rhythmic, melodic harmonic complexities create a great introduction to the song that remains extended throughout the rest of it. Charbel enters simultaneously with the beat and delivers such a catchy, melodic hook. Both of these elements sit tight within the rhythmic pocket creating that wavy outer space-esque feel to the whole track. The ad libs heard in the song explore higher and lower vocal octaves that add density and texture to the song. In the second verse the doubled backing vocals become increasingly dissonant to lead to that mellifluous second last chorus. Charbel continues to mellow down the upbeat tune in the second last chorus by creating dynamic contrast and then coming straight back to the same level of intensity for the last chorus. In the instrumental section there are harmonic slides creating subtle dissonances that slide into consonance. This is symbolic of the effects of getting faded or losing yourself in this life.
With ‘WAVY’, Charbel has crafted an undeniably groovy track which will leave you bopping your head from start to the finish. The song sees Charbel communicating his feelings of self-assurance and control after choosing to live a life in which he is on his own unique wave, seen through his self-reflective lyricism in the verses. Unlike the flows of many artists in the music scene with their heavy use of triplets, Charbel utilises the laid-back quaver feel which is congruent with the bassline ostinato throughout the whole track. This is found predominantly in the chorus where the lyrics fit rhythmically tight in the groove: “Floating into space I'm getting faded, feel like I'm drifting down the path getting jaded, I'm getting lost in this lifetime baby, I'm so - , I'm so wavy”. Charbel also accents certain words that align with the beats, for example in: “Get up off of my spaceship”. These subtle but fundamental aspects are the key elements in creating a funky and groovy song.
The outro of the song uses an audio excerpt of a retro video game which conveys that ‘Game Over’ sound you hear once you’ve failed a mission. This represents the outcome of staying in that bubble of complacency Charbel is working to get away from, one he fears remaining in will lead to him losing it all. It is also a link to the cover art which references the retro video games from the 90’s that taps into feelings of nostalgia for Charbel and listeners. The music video itself depicts many styles of video games in the 90s with my personal favourite being the ‘Pokémon’ style battle. One thing’s for sure, we hope to see Charbel build on the artistic momentum set by ‘WAVY’ with even more releases in 2022.
Photos by @groovyshaq
Words by Byron Zeledon-Torres