Skip to main content

Featured Post

Amazon's Black Friday Sale Begins: See What's On Offer

Amazon's Black Friday Sale is finally here. Here are some of the best deals on now.
We've had our fingers poised over our keyboards long enough in anticipation of Amazon's Black Friday Sale, which went live at midnight and will last until 25 November.


The experimental music of SOPHIE relaxes into new forms on her debut album. It is sprawling and beautiful, while still keeping the disorienting, latex-pop feel of her fascinating production technique.

Since 2013, SOPHIE has carved out an instantly identifiable musical vernacular based on synthesized bubble sounds, brash treble, deep bass, and distended, anonymous vocals. Listening to early singles like “Lemonade” or “Vyzee” could be a disorienting (and thrilling) experience, because SOPHIE’s music sounded like a latex-coated version of radio pop: It followed many of the same rules that governed the mainstream, but all the textures were too taut, too perfect, too unreal. But in the self-directed music video for “It’s Okay to Cry,” SOPHIE appeared in front of the lens of a camera and introduced an element of vulnerability to her work. Her own voice appeared on that track, and though still digitally altered, it sounded tentative and cracked through with subtle flaws. Finally, one of the most intriguing new presences in experimental pop had fully materialized.

SOPHIE’s debut album, OIL OF EVERY PEARL’s UN-INSIDES, adapts many of the technical strategies heard on her previous work to looser, more sprawling compositions. Instead of chaining together compact singles as on 2015’s PRODUCT, the album builds and releases narrative tension. Beat-heavy romps like “Ponyboy” and “Faceshopping” nestle together at the top of the tracklist after “It’s Okay to Cry,” giving way to celestial swells of synthesizer and voice. Where SOPHIE’s early singles exhibited a keen feel for economy and a killer sense of humor, OIL makes a bid for transcendent beauty.

One of the album’s most astonishing tracks, “Is It Cold in the Water?” brings SOPHIE’s music to a newly searching place. “I’m freezing/I’m burning/I’ve left my home,” a voice sings in breathy soprano. Cycling synthesizer chords build in volume throughout the verse and then drop away by the end of the first chorus. The voice sings the song’s title, stretching out the word “cold” across a series of notes, as though it belonged to someone standing at the edge of the ocean, wondering if they should jump. It’s the clearest image to arise from a SOPHIE song to date, and it sets the rest of the album in motion.

The rotating chords continue into “Infatuation,” a low-key number about admiring someone from afar, only now it’s a processed human voice singing the notes instead of a synthesizer. Then the song structures to which SOPHIE had been beholden for most of her career dissolve. The abrasive, chaotic interlude “Not Okay” opens up into “Pretending,” a six-minute ambient murk entirely unlike anything SOPHIE has put her name to before. Its formlessness, and the inclusion of stray, garbled voices towards the end suggests a primordial becoming, a vacancy from which structures can emerge. Out of the fog comes the refrain of the next song, gleefully repeated over handclaps that land on every beat: “Immaterial girls!/Immaterial boys!”

The transition from amorphous noise to giddy rallying cry ranks among OIL’s most satisfying moments. With self-affirming lyrics (“I can be anything I want”) sung through elastic pitch-shifting software, “Immaterial” sits at the album’s thematic core. It’s the molecules of a Madonna song filtered through a new context, speaking to how desire informs selfhood, how wanting to be something—a gender other than the one you were assigned at birth, say—is a big step in the process of becoming it. It may be the only step. “Immaterial” indulges desire the way the smartest pop songs can, by both inviting and challenging it. Its voices dance along irresistible melodies, and then they get distorted into impossible ones, twisted beyond their “natural” ranges into new, disarming shapes.

“Immaterial,” alongside OIL’s storming, nine-minute conclusion “Whole New World:Pretend World,” speaks to a conception of gender, being, and selfhood that feels increasingly resonant. By complicating the naturalness of the human voice and corrupting established pop structures, SOPHIE also complicates the supposed naturalness of gender, which has always been inextricable from music. Her work is a sphere where will and impulse take priority over fate and legacy. Nothing is preordained; everything is always in flux. When, on “Whole New World,” the distorted, feminized voices that have become her trademark shout out the song’s title one syllable at a time—”whole! new! world!”—it sounds almost like a manifesto, a political demand. It sounds like the kind of phrase you’d shout in a crowd while clamoring for the freedom to be whatever it is you already are.

View the original article here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

Amazon Echo Plus (Second-Gen) Review

The second-gen Amazon Echo Plus is shorter, louder and better-looking than ever. What's not to like? Here's our review.
Should I Buy The Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)?
The new Echo Plus offers a radical redesign compared to the original, ditching the plastic body for a fabric mesh housing that helps the speaker blend into the home environment. It’s not only better-looking either, as a larger speaker and tweeter provide improved audio quality and Dolby Play 360 audio support helps fills the room with music. What’s not to like?

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: The Best Cheap Fitness Tracker Money Can Buy

The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the best cheap fitness tracker we’ve seen. Read our Mi Band 2 review to find out what’s new in this excellent-value budget activity tracker.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi Band 2?
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault.

Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse Best-Value Activity Tracker Review

You will not find an activity tracker that offers better value than Xiaomi's Mi Band Pulse. We put the upgraded Mi Band to the test in our Xiaomi Mi Band 1S review.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse?
With a tougher band addressing our issues with the original, and a new heart-rate sensor bringing it into line with rival activity trackers, you quite simply won't find a better-value fitness band than the Xiaomi Mi Band 1S Pulse. It still falls down on social interaction, apps and its use of a proprietary charging cable, but given the price we can accept these shortcomings.

Does Amazon's New FireTV Stick 4K Do It All

HDR, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos... Yup!
It seems like every year a new format comes along to make all our "old" gear obsolete. For audio video afficionados, those latest formats include Dolby Atmos immersive sound, and three different flavors of High Dynamic Range for enhanced picture quality. The three HDR flavors currently on the market include HDR 10 (the most common), HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision and HDR10+ promise better picture quality than standard HDR 10 by using something called "dynamic meta data." Basically they're able to shift around the required storage bits on a scene-by-scene basis to get the best dynamic range out of movies and TV shows that are encoded in the format.

Apple MacBook Air 2018 vs Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Review

The MacBook Air has seen a major redesign, but how does it compare to the excellent Surface Laptop 2? We find out and help you choose which one to buy.
Should I Buy The MacBook Air (2018) Or Microsoft Surface Laptop 2?
These two laptops offer plenty of features and aesthetics that make them desirable. If you’re a Windows fan then buy the Surface, otherwise the new MacBook Air is a solid workhorse.

Like Fan Page