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"Figured" is an enthralling collaborative jam between Will Eason and Nic Hanson

23 February 2024, 10:30 | Written by Orla Foster

Pooling creative talents across the pond, London-based Will Eason and Philadelphia-raised Nic Hanson bring studio polish to session grooves on latest slice of neo-soul, "Figured"

When Will Eason teased out the first few bars of "Figured", he didn't have anything more complicated in mind than an Instagram soundbite. But 100k views (and nearly as many flame emojis) later, he realised he should probably flesh it out. Enlisting NYC-based Nic Hanson to lay down some vocals, the pair brainstormed until landing on this breezy slab of neo-soul, buoyed up by a sense of possibility and spring fever.

Hanson, originally from Philadelphia, is a multi-instrumentalist who counts D'Angelo and Usher among his inspirations. Undeniably, there's a hint of Justin Timberlake there too; a certain impish bravado laced with sudden swoops of sensitivity and one-liners delivered in an airy falsetto. Last year he put out his album The Time, a svelte R&B project laden with rapturous soul and futuristic grooves, and in the meantime he's an Instagram session regular, rallying fellow musicians to cook up earworms from his apartment.

Across the pond, London-based, Cornwall-raised Eason has been doing much the same thing. He's solidified his reputation with a series of laidback home sessions populated by a rotating cast of musicians, some face-to-face, others via a strong internet connection. Endlessly resourceful, he flits between different instruments with ease, cheerfully cloning himself for videos if he's short on special guests. But for the most part his work is fiercely collaborative, using beat samples as prompts to draw more and more people into the mix, improvising fragmentary ideas into rich arrangements which combine elements of jazz and soul.

"Figured" is the perfect blueprint for this approach, showcasing the versatility of both artists and their mutual love of spinning an organic jam into a fully-realised, intricate production. Eason is satisfied it's a job well done. "The combination of delicious grooves, beautifully arranged soulful vocal performances and harmonies, and an epic guitar solo makes this track my greatest work to date," he says. Proof that sometimes the best ideas can happen when you're just spitballing.

"Figured" is out now. Find Will Eason and Nic Hanson on Instagram.

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