Cosmo’s Midnight is an electronic duo comprised of twin producers from Sydney, Australia. Being their debut original release, Surge was mounted with a bit of hype (at least for me), and I think it lived up to every bit of it. I discovered Cosmo’s Midnight through a video by the glover Ahuh on the EmazingLights channel where he used the single preceding this EP “Phantasm feat. Nicole Millar”. After hearing the song I instantly looked it up only to find it was their only original track released but an EP was coming out soon. The day it came out (yesterday at the time of writing this I believe) I snatched it right up and gave it a bunch of listens.
I would describe the sound as chillwave but with a little bit more emphasis on the beats than is typical and I love it. It’s got everything one might love about a good chillwave release: the floaty vocals with memorable melodies, the sidechained keyboard and basskicks, phasing background synths, and it’s all executed with great cleanliness and professionalism. When the title track begins it starts with a flowing beatless ambient section before the beat kicks right in and the realization washes over you that this is going to be an awesome EP, even assuming you hadn’t heard Phantasm already (which is one of my favorite tracks of the year so far). Something I noticed that I thought was nice was the melody tie in from Surge to Phantasm with the plinky keyboard, which gives some nice flow to the ideas of the EP right off the bat and you can immediately tell this is going to be a concise and well put together release. The production is spot on and the songwriting is catchy and feely, the perfect combination in my opinion. My favorite aspect of the EP is probably just how well all the different sounds are layered and put together to create the final product, which I’ve got to give mad props to Cosmo’s Midnight for simply for that in itself, not even taking into consideration all the other great things about this EP.
I recommend Cosmo’s Midnight to pretty much anyone who likes anything remotely chill, but to be more specific; if you like XXYYXX, Blackbird Blackbird, or MillionYoung you might like this, those 3 artists just being 3 that I thought of off the top of my head.
Mont Saint Michel is the solo experimental music project of Tyler Stupalsky. ‘Sediment’ is the first release under the project name which according to the last.fm page is a collection of songs featuring a variety of guest production. Sediment is a series of five songs that pays tribute to the wall-of-sound characteristics found in shoegaze combining it with ambient music in even tasteful applications all in a compact and friendly span of 3 to 5 minutes.
The Ep begins with ‘Tributary’, a track brimming with guitar melodies and glowing ambient textures, one that starts off safe enough with but soon transforms into monolithically large pulsating slabs of psychedelic noise. The textures are so vibrant, melodic even, a concept that is carried on throughout the EP, specifically on ‘Midnight Special’. One of the most enjoyable aspects of ”Tributary’ is the unorthodox beat that randomly comes into the song, a risky and unexpected move that feels perfectly in place, one that shows that Mont Saint Michel is not afraid to take chances with a few unusual ideas. Seeing as this is the only track that includes beats, it is an idea that works so well in its application that I wouldn’t mind hearing more of it on future releases. Although experimental, ‘Sediment’ does not stray so far away from familiarity that it becomes completely alien. This familiarity is demonstrated on ‘Streets/Tears’, a slow moving ballad that begins with a considerably larger amount of traditional guitar playing further brings in a sense of musicality.
‘Sediment’ comes off very much like a mixtape, a collection of interesting ideas and experiments that gives the listener an idea of what to expect in the future which makes this experimental enough for the weirdos while staying formulaic and familiar enough for your average listener who has a bit of a sweet tooth for experimentation. Mont Saint Michel brings a stimulating pallet of familiar sounds and blends them with an adventurous amount of experimentation. The tone is bright, featuring a thin but present underlying layer of dreamy pop melodies; it is all very warm and welcoming while being mysterious enough to make you feel like you have discovered something new. It is like a summer day at the beach, just before it is about to rain; a strong and refreshing introduction to what is hopefully to come in the near future.
Listen to this with headphones. There’s plenty of interesting stuff going on, most of the times with a non-obvious harmony with the vocals, which are marked by a strange singing voice as well – though not that peculiar, considering there’s a bunch of strange vocals in rock in general. It’s kind of competently played psychedelic music with plenty of nice details all around, with loose, strange musical structure, trippy chord progressions and vocal harmonies, plenty of sound experiments with synths and guitar tones.
The description itself shows that it’s interesting stuff that won’t bore you, but other than that it just works, doesn’t feel forced or pedantic, more like the natural expression of musicians with a peculiar taste that, again, isn’t that peculiar since there’s plenty of psychedelic strange rock to be listened, but of course the idea with psychedelic is doing different psychedelic stuff than you find in other bands, and it delivers, meaning that the music is actually able to go through changes that surprise and, in general, give you a good musical experience.
The lyrics fit in well with the music, even though they aren’t as important as the melodies they carry and as the voice tone itself. In them you’ll find crazy stuff, basically. Some are pretty straightforward, but with scattered crazy bits, but even the “normal” parts end up sounding strange because of the music that surrounds it. The themes are a bit uncertain though, so yeah, the lyrics are the least important aspect of this, even though they occasionally carry a bit of meaning, just random stuff like “chewing glass” or “we’re moving far away”, which have meaning of their own without necessarily having to be analyzed in context.
Trippy stuff, just look at that deeply wtf album cover.
Interesting musical ideas on the background, pretty cool female voice in the foreground. This just works. It doesn’t really sound a lot like Loveless, since it’s synth music, but the same feel is there and it’s nice and interesting, very atmospheric, it’s overall a cool musical journey. The musical structure is filled with breaks and changes of rhythm and sound, like abrupt build-downs that soon let go, it just never gets boring and sucks you in this feeling of being surrounded by music, like dolby stereo. There isn’t a world of difference between each track (again, the title track is sort of different), but they certainly convey one distinct sound without feeling like different parts of the same song.
The singing is what stands out the most and I am pleased to say it also works very well. It isn’t stationary, there is plenty of drama and feeling (specially in the title track), though it is mostly delivered in vague dreamy melodies that fit perfectly with the music behind it, always changing accordingly to it.
An overall on the best tracks. The two first are the basics, they are very well done and play the part of “this is what I’m here for”. The title track deviates a little bit from the others, but in a nice way that made me almost think it might be the best of the bunch – it’s the most radio-ready anyhow, naming the album after it was a good idea. The last track’s title, “Feels Like Flying”, is descriptive of the EP’s style as a whole and you might say that’s the feeling they aimed at. This track is also the most ambitious, not only because it’s the longest, but the synths go farther away from the “norm”, delivered with more abrupt breaks, while maintaining the overall atmosphere of the EP. It’s kind of the one that sounds less like rock and more like electronic (the first one sounds the most like rock, I’m still not sure if there isn’t a guitar down there somewhere). It plays the role of a closing track perfectly, a synthesis of what just happened, a little bit special and pointing towards something different, like a reward for sticking up until this point.