MIXTAPE REVIEW: Eyedress – Hearing Colors

EyedressIt’s not everyday you stumble across music from The Philippines, unless of course you’re a native to the scattering of islands. Eyedress’ music however, is making a good case for pinning The Philippines on the musical map with his mix of technological nostalgia and tender dystopia permeating the consciousness of alert listeners the world over via music blogs, the new information superhighways for acts wishing to garner long-distance buzz.

‘Hearing Colors’, a collaboration with eerie vocalist Skint Eastwood, finds Eyedress at his most enigmatic and haunting. Opener ‘Salaamin’ boots up the mixtape with a warbling 8-bit murmur akin to that of haunted houses on the old Pokemon Gameboy games. Had this mixtape been released a few years previously, there’s no doubt Eyedress’ style of music would’ve been bundled into a superfluous sub-genre, you know the ones: Chillwave, Witch-House, Dreamgaze.

Although his music is a slew of repurposing, Eyedress stands out from the faded away excitement of the aforementioned, principally by sounding more futuristic than retrogazing, coupled with the strength of his occasionally Flying Lotus-esque soundscapes, moving away from the tacky internet 2.0 graphics and gimmicks you might find from other less subtle bedroom producers.

The mixtape thrills and emotes in equal measure, with sudden bursts of energy always calmed down shortly after. The more upbeat moments are undoubtedly the most exciting, the otherworldly bass throb on ‘Nature Trips’ is inescapably catchy as Eyedress nonchalantly sighs defeat as he details the end of a tumultuous relationship; “I can’t help if you won’t let me in” eventually spirals into “Im not giving up, yeah I’ve been doing drugs, because I don’t give a fuck, I just want to forget everything that’s making me feel bad.” Sure it’s not exactly poetry, but you get the impression the sentiment is legitimate.

‘My Hologram’ and ‘Triduum’ continue the inherent uncomfortable nature of Eyedress’ music, utilising the odd minor note just to keep the listener questioning as Eyedress’ ethereal beats mesh with his profound introspective songwriting. It’s a mix that comes across a let less whiney than it sounds on paper, with many of the Skint Eastwood voiced tracks being nothing short of relaxing, all be it in a warped futurist fashion.

‘Hearing Colors’ isn’t the most complex, dense, layered or even emotional electronic release you’ll hear this year. But Eyedress’ hapless romantic songwriting and twisted synthetics set down a fine foundation for a blossoming future catalogue he’s clearly more than capable of attaining perhaps with a few more vocal collaborators to really help his songs reach their maximum emotional impact.

Toby McCarron

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