A singer-songwriter’s commitment to honesty in storytelling may be one of, if not the most valuable assets in their career. Their ability to eloquently convey the complexities of the human experience allows them to connect with their audience in a way that is unique in all of music. For some artists, it takes years to find their honest voice while others never find it at all. Then some seem to be born with their heart on their sleeve and their life on their lips. ‘Best Mann’ (aka Nate Mondschein) is one of these artists.
Listen to Best Mann – MCO via Soundcloud below, or via Spotify
The Massachusett-based producer/composer’s debut single ‘MCO’ is an introverted reminiscence of a past relationship told with sincerity and polaroid-esque imagery. While he most certainly channels the emotive and melodic complexities of Bon Iver, his lyrics are much more approachable and less open to interpretation. Mondschein unpacks his need for love and painstakingly reflects on the various grand romantic gestures that ultimately created a rift between the two.
The song opens with a shimmering descending synth progression that is imbued with intimacy and desperation. The opening line and descending melody set the scene of a confused and defeated protagonist musing over a recently failed relationship. I was gently drawn in to Nate’s intention with his dry and intimate vocal production before the introduction of the beat which completely lifts the song. The hip-hop groove is daring and would not usually be the stylistic choice for a reflective song like ‘MCO‘. However, unlike in hip-hop the beat is not the focus here and Nate seems to use the style to drive the urgency of his remorse home.
‘MCO‘ by Best Mann could best be described as ‘cinematic folk’, a visual denomination of a genre devoted to storytelling. The sub-genre owes plenty to the likes of Moses Sumney and Sufjan Stevens, but also to the bands that stand at their periphery, as it is made up almost entirely of honest introverts. While staying true the thematic integrity of the song, Nate brings a diverse range of influences to the production. He seamlessly blends art-rock aesthetics with adjacent hip-hop pockets creating a pulsating and ethereal experience.
‘MCO’ is the lead single from Nate’s debut album ‘…And The Sky’, which he wrote in the wake of his friend and former bandmate’s death. Nate spends much of the album balancing the duality of attempting to honour her memory, while also dealing with his grief and guilt stemming from his long-standing anxieties. The album was fully self-produced and performed by Nate, with recording done between Nate’s studio ‘Echo Base Production’ and ‘Ghost Hit Recording’. For an artist that is only just now emerging onto the scene, his mature voice is sure to resonate with the masses. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what ‘Best Mann’ does next.