This issue of The Overdue Review collects works that went around our radar – a diversity of sounds in need of much-owed appreciation, and select sounds from the past heard under new light. Better late than never!
cat mother – コンピューターからの音 vol. 2 5/3/21
A while ago we named osquinn “Artist of the Year” for 2020, and whilst she did indeed conquer the underground space last year it seems she’s become more guarded and less intensely present in the months that followed. She’s only recently returned to vocals.
In the break, and indeed the present, is the alter/anti-ego cat mother; there’s a small handful of tapes out under this name but I’ll be focusing on the most recent, “コンピューターからの音 vol. 2 5/3/21” (“Sounds From Your Computer vol. 2 5/3/21”). This is a self-proclaimed “hard drive dump” and sounds like it, but due to quinn’s proven talent for arrangement and keen explorative ear the twelve tracks coagulate. Most of them are heavily digital in nature – synths have a swirling coldness on “msx”, and drum breaks are generously loaded with artifacts. “flowers” cuts the sample rate for a simple field of breaks and pianos, “chemical” is well-driven, and “drive while texting if god wants to meet you” is spare, almost macabre. These songs are the day to day of a young artist who, despite many successes, is still finding her footing.
deathlike – right-sided heart
deathlike is a Swedish producer who works in a small circle of fashion-focused crooners, notably with Drux for 2019’s “locked out” tape. Their beats for others are dance-tinged, applying shimmery percussion where possible, but it’s a small library of solo work that really lets some inner feelings shine. One I’ve kept coming back to in the couple of years it’s been out is “right-sided heart”, full of soft arpeggios that just keep stacking. Organic violin sounds get mangled by time and stalactites of noise burst up, it’s both warming and uneasy. A backdrop to fleeting experiences.
HEX6 – CLAVES MORTIUS
HEX6 is not to be taken lightly. She plays with themes of witchcraft, paganism, and the demonic unknown to create art that remains engaging even through some rather extreme material.
“CLAVES MORTIUS” came out a few months ago, painting HEX in a new shade of (admittedly still bloody) crimson. “The Seventh Seal” calls on her past ambient work and the clicky, quantized bounce of southern rap, using a genuinely possessive beat to encourage some kind of forbidden ritual dance. Vocals sink through reverb and fall out of the bottom, hitting the listener like water rushing into a cave and inspiring much of the same fear. “Land of the Dead”, modular and disjointed, has HEX6 fill each corner of the room. It’s isolating, it’s expressive, it might be a trap.
I’m jealous of i9bonsai, because from the way their music reads they’re living in some other dimension where thought isn’t permanent and routine doesn’t exist. “no time to waste” trips and falls into a bizarre melodic spiral, with lyrics that spin around the beat accordingly. “I’m amazed, I’m amazed for any reason” detaches bonsai from reality; now a visitor, a tourist, in our little world of worry. Typically each song is over quickly. i9bonsai does not subscribe to the idea of delayed gratification; everything about “sacboy adventure”, or “fragranc”, or immense posse cut “mixd up”, exists as and when the music plays.
Fascinating about i9bonsai is the singer’s strained and altered vocal style; some notes seem impossibly high or downright falsified, but, as said, the universe bonsai works in is hardly our own. What could be seen as comedic or lighthearted in day-to-day listening is hard reality in the “dead and faded” landscape of “automatd”. Lyrics are breathy and rushed in delivery, eager to line the listener’s mind with sugary dew. Said listeners might assume they’re being taken for a ride, that there’ll be some end point, a punchline, a break, but the simulacra never passes.
BUKKY – Come we GOT Diamonds
“Come to the ocean we got diamonds, I couldn’t tell you what the time is” is a strong endorsement to escapists and adventurers. Forming the centre of BUKKY’s “Come we GOT Diamonds”, this refrain is embroidered by needling melodies and stitched into BUKKY’s uniquely affecting voice; her vowels slope in unpredictable ways that compliment the mobile rhythm. Pads and bass nest over each other and set anchor. In her best moments, BUKKY trusts her talent and keeps it simple, radiating surety in the process.
squid ethics – smiling silently
“smiling silently” is a comforting dream from lofi legend squid ethics, released over two years ago in a time of stressed optimism. Each track in the short EP isn’t named, allowing it a sense of oneness and solid form; otherwise the pieces are generally content to sail along unencumbered, bumping into one another with deeply compressed drums and humid delay lines. To me it’s a free ticket to a time before the world collapsed, an immortal window. As the EP progresses its tracks become boosted with vocal samples, before ending much the way it started in a mist of strings and reverb; “smiling silently”, as its name suggests, suggests that some happiness should just be allowed to pass through in the quiet – whether that happiness causes peace or that peace precedes happiness is up to you.
– Jamie (Staff @108MICS)