Review: ‘Changes’ by EVM128 and Renato Paris

Have a listen here.

EVM128’s EP ‘Input Vol 1’ opens with ‘Changes’, written with Renato Paris. The minor key conjures a feeling of anticipation about a dizzying relationship with an inamorata, achieved in a 2-bar beat with split-second, arresting halt over which Paris’s vocals climb and fall. The bridge’s haunting harmonies verge on chanting. 

Paris first played ‘Changes’ live at Straightpocket, the weekly jam session he hosts from behind the keys. Its house band rotates elite musicians, some of whom are heard in the live recording. The song gains a jazzy feel thanks to a velvety bassline from Jonathan Moko. Ayo Salawu (drums) sharpens the pulsing, fuzzy beat of the original, over which Renato adds light piano sweeps trailing his soaring soul vocals. In the live instrumental version, Paris builds on the keys, and riffs the melody over Joon Switon’s guitar.

Trev remixes ‘Changes’ to bring out both synthy pop and garage elements. The angsty lover brought to life by Paris’s vocals is somewhere hazy, underground, in the 1990s. The bassline is chimey-er and the less detectable pause in the beat gets the body more seriously dancing, despite a few extraneous record scratches breaking up the bassline. 

Paris makes it sound easy, but the melody of ‘Changes’ is more challenging and complex than its face value. Even without the lyrics, the instrumental versions evoke the uncertainty and angst the song is about. This track stands out for its harmonic creativity, which affords it multi-genre expansion and reinterpretation.

Photo courtesy of EVM128