New Band of the Day #49: TSUKI

TSUKI’s debut album, Severance Package, is out now via SVNSET WAVES.

Who: Electronic music duo of Levi Chappell and Chanlar Rose.

What:  Downtempo electronic music with elements of footwork, ambient, trip hop, and future garage, blended to hazy and intoxicating effect. (FFO: Shlohmo, Baths, XXYYXX)

Where: San Diego, US

Why:  Off the tail of their 2016 EP, Sleep Where It’s Quiet, TSUKI were a “future beats” group through and through. Their music was hazy and dense, but was defined by a strong pop-leaning undercurrent. Not just in the sugary, synthetic textures, but in the gentle weaving of Chanlar’s whispery vocals into the tapestry, splicing and treating them for maximum ear-candy effect. It was a kind of sound that was easy to attribute to the groups influences, as Shlohmo and Baths loomed large over the project. However on their new debut album, Severance Package, TSUKI are starting to sound a lot more like TSUKI.

With tracks like “Boy”, TSUKI create a sort of indietronica, heavy on the -tronica, that is beautiful and unlike anything their contemporaries are doing, the sound of a campfire song on the edge of a spacecraft. And on the more electronic tracks, elements of ambient and footwork seep in from the edges and blend into something that sounds decidedly new, finding the space between emerging, hectic electronic styles and the soothing pallets of yesteryear.

Along with these changes in production comes a new direction from the group vocally, as Chanlar’s vocals sink into lower, more melancholic registers, and Levi’s vocals enter the mix like a cloud on “It’s Just Like You’re Dead”, as his listless voice, smothered in reverb, glides over a backdrop of synth washes and street noises. But more importantly, the group does away with the very in-vogue vocal chopping and lets their voices play through a track naturally, without interruption. A noticeable change that represents the loftier ambition of TSUKI here, ambitions that pay off well.

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