It speaks volumes when a multi-talented artist decides to put in the time and effort to donate funds from something they made to an organization that offers reprieve to so many that are struggling. Niagara Falls based artist Selled sent over his EP, A Dream Without a Dreamer (precursor to full album dropping November 11, 2018), with which he’s doing just that. The current release has songs written roughly five years ago during a bout of mental struggles. In wake of Sean Delles’ reprieve, he’s now offering his reflections from during that time, in all their raw emotion. With proceeds going to the Mental Health Advocates of WNY, Selled has his EP available on donation basis, with different tiers of donation offering different perks (like a hard-copy of the CD when it releases). Sean does all of this charity while also releasing an extremely intriguing and unique set of five songs. This EP covers so many of today’s pressing issues that were once shoved under the rug- identity crises, depression, and self-doubt among many other heavy themes. Selled does a great job of describing the themes through his poetic lyricism and melancholy looping, all while keeping it from getting too heavy. The EP starts off (and remains) fun from beginning to end.
The songs on this sneak-peak EP offer a good look at what Sean is capable of when armed with his loop station, his voice, and his insight. Selled has this smooth, Andre 3000-style of vocally laying down verses, while still leaving some sonic space to put a layering of more melodic instruments, and percussion ranging from drum samples to beatboxing. The first track introduces the listener to the raw, organic production Selled brings to the table. With no discernable lower end as a foundation, this song feels off the rails and without foundation- much like the concept Selled is seeking to elaborate on. While this could be a drawback for a lot of content, it only adds to the narrative here and gives the song another dimension. The song emotes the feelings of falling apart, with a dream like atmosphere that hovers above the blast of lyrical ideas. In this track, and really across the entire EP, Selled does well to write fast verses to contrast some slower mantras, accentuating the importance of particular concepts. It becomes clear that Selled’s ability to form a song over his poetry is what separates him from other loop-oriented acts. The third track (“SOSRI”) has some fun jazz influence, again with emotive production and this time with some cool twists in song structure. Selled’s combination of jazzy crooning along with his flow on the faster rap parts is a high point on this track.
The EP rounds out with “Capital C”. Opening on an 8-bit pop influenced hook, the song has this feeling of living in a video game. Despite being able to control yourself like a character in a game, you are always at the mercy of the control’s you’ve been given; the coding of your brain, and the events of the world around you. Overall, that’s kind of the message of the EP as it is currently. There will be a lot more to listen to once the whole thing drops to provide more context to the flow of the album in its entirety, but the heavy thematic content and the truly unique style of songwriting combine for a captivating listen as is- personally there’s a lot of anticipation to hear the continuation of this concept. Check out the EP on Bandcamp and send over a donation to listen!