Filipino act HAUTE COUTURE impresses, with disparate worlds of shoegaze and trap wrapped into one melancholy adventure.
November is a hell of a month. In the UK at least, things start to get cold, and dark, and isolated. But there’s also an obvious beauty about this time of year. There’s the comfort of finality with none of December’s havoc. Though the true peak of winter is yet to come, it can feel like the calender’s spiritual centre, at once shrouded in fuzzy night and blessed by Jacob’s ladders.
HAUTE COUTURE, a multidisciplinary artist out of the Philippines, released not too long ago her track “winter solstice”, which captures the emotional conflict native to winter by letting a variety of environments break through one another. In line with previous tracks “low-poly render”, and even more so “promnight”, the song takes shoegaze as its blueprint, but circumvents a traditionally guitar-focused genre with a beat founded on softened piano notes. These filtered tones are soon relieved of their loneliness; drums (both real and programmed) create an expressive rhythm. An array of guitars provide the main bedding for vocals that are just about there, placed atop the mix and later bleeding into it, dripping with reverb. Shuichi, who handles the main vocals, stays true to the wintery dichotomy; they’re hurt and grateful in even shares, looking back over their shoulder with a pained smile. They sing “And I love his eyes, he loves the sunrise, not another time that I’m in disguise”. The lyrics make for a nice mise-en-scene, but the rhyme scheme gives the audience a little more thematic insight. In the first verse, every line is a perfect rhyme, but as the song continues “go” is paired with “away”, “through” with “solstice”. This further emphasises the muted war at the tune’s core – not once is a word said with malice or ugliness, yet they still do not fit together.
Forward-looking happiness dominates the overall vibe of “winter solstice”. In its last act a brazen and dynamic drum and bass section overrides every one of the song’s directives. Snares flit from ear to ear and rattle in their own shadows while bass floods the mix. Shuichi’s vocals surf this instability to the end, soaring, sometimes getting a word in. It gets really transcendent, an instant and gripping hit of dopamine, slow release euphorias made rapid by their immense abundance. It, like winter, feels infinite and fleeting. Make the most of it while you still can.
Listen to “winter solstice” here.
– Jamie (@youngjade1216)