Thursday, December 12th, 2013

AMNESTY 2013: Ukendt Kunstner – Neonlys

And then take a cab to Denmark…


Anthony Easton: I couldn’t quite figure out what this sounds like. Familiar and cryptic at the same time, it might serve as an argument against the idea that pop culture is monolithic, and in favour of current Danish culture. Both good things.

Scott Mildenhall: Unknown Artist: a none-more appropriate name for a duo approaching escape from anonymity. It’s an expert packaging of theme all round — the unremitting glow of the production even sounds like neon lights: bright, but as imposing as the city itself, Hans Philip’s determination slightly offset by unacknowledged sadness (it’s just the glare blurring his eyes, honest). There’s so much beauty, and so much possibility, but when the lights are turned off, the future remains unclear — only he knows he’s going to do it.

Brad Shoup: 808s and hubris, I guess, with wishes for cash showers and the phrase “neon lights” brayed like an inevitability. The internet says the line about being 24, driving down H.C. Andersen, is a nod to Nik & Jay’s 2009 single “Hot!”, but the nearly narcotic synth draping and spare drumslap make it a grander self-portrait. Still, I can’t shake “Paranoid” during those verses, and neither of these dudes are Mr. Hudson, which, I think I ought to clarify, is a bad thing in this case.

Patrick St. Michel: All three points given to the chorus and its robo-croak. Rest of the song just hops in place.

Alfred Soto: The thumping sequencer and beat are marvelous, the vocoder less so. Also, this track sounds like it’s all verse and no chorus, and the verses evoke a slower “Dancing On My Own.” 

Crystal Leww: This comes out sounding like someone sat these guys down and told them exactly how to write a verse-hook-verse-hook type of song, then helped them program some preset beats into their free software. There’s plenty of musicians that do that (and don’t get me wrong; the democratization of music is awesome), but this just feels so toothless by the end.

Jer Fairall: There’s a slight but still uncomfortable hint of Auto-Tune sheen on the chorus, but for the most part the robots are left to provide synth-pop hums and whirls that cushion a rap that exudes much more melancholy than bravado. The language barrier prevents any side-by-side comparisons, of course, but even without a text I can parse, I’m finding this pretty little track vastly more fulfilling than the entirety of Nothing Was The Same.

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