Sadie Vadnais for BeatRoute Magazine:
Stephen Kloppenburg has led a varied life, from inner city wilderness to the bustle of backwater living. Musicians that tread the path of adversity tend to pigeonhole themselves into a genre that lends itself easily to that narrative; the trope of acoustic guitar and smokey vocals in some dive bar comes to mind for this journey. But Kloppenburg, the lone member of N’RTH, doesn’t fit into that stereotypical image, or any one genre of music. His effervescent trap/hip hop/guitar/spoken word/dance beat EP is something new; recognizable but unique.
The album starts with off beat hooks that feel off putting, building an environment of ethereal confusion, leaning heavily on the trance effect of the vocals that accentuates the tones being presented. It’s uptempo, and has an effervescence that trails through the first half of the album, blending the opening four tracks. There are repetitive points, which depending on your flavor of trance, might be exactly what your craving. Keeping with it, you can feel it building into the pinnacle of the EP which at track 5, Your F#ckin Man, where N’RTH abandons safe transitions and Kalamalka finds its footing as a powerful album with a bigger story to tell.
The EP ends with driving beats, a chanting effect that accentuates the spirit within the music; it begs to be started again with a loneliness like sitting at sunset. It envelopes the listener as an auditory experience that feels experimental but for the most part is quite successful. Kalamalka is greater than the sum of its parts. And there are a lot of parts, which I believe makes this project that much greater.
Review by Karolina Kay for her blog Karokay.com:
Vancouver Musician NRTH Releases Dancey New Track "Wreckless"
Vancouver-based indie-pop producer and singer NRTH, known personally as Stephen Kloppenburg, is someone to look out for in 2017. With two original songs released so far, is latest track "Wreckless" has already accrued thousands of listens on YouTube and Soundcloud, and he is working relentlessly to release his first studio album.
The catchy track "Wreckless" incorporates both analog and electronic elements, with Stephen's warm and vibrant voice layered over top, creating a dancey, electro-pop feel. In the song the protagonist tells a woman to unleash all of her frustrations on him, asking her to embrace the moment and release her burdens, if only momentarily.
The independent artist fluctuates between indie pop and electro rock, as he takes inspiration from extensive experiences in his life, making his sound easy to recognize but harder to assign. "From the guitar driven blues of small town bars, to the hip hop and trap sounds of inner city art galleries, and the pulsing dance beats of wild festivals, diverse creativity echoes throughout," Stephen declares in his artist biography.
Stephen grew up on the countryside, moving to the city at seventeen years old where he bought his first guitar and taught himself to play. For the past decade, he has been tirelessly crafting his sound, often galvanized by the intense life moments he has had (like working on an oil rig, struggling with debt, and a car crash).
With every aspect of N'RTH's sound, performance, design and promotion carried out by the solo artist himself, N'RTH is ready for the fight emerging artists have to face in the worldwide music ring. He reflects nothing but grit, assurance and determination.