After quietly leaking 60s-ish folk-pop number “Man On The Moon” last week, OKP Top Artist to Watch Moses Sumney has delivered the rest of his Mid City Island EP, a four track (plus an outro) experiment in DIY ballad-making recorded in Sumney’s bedroom. A nostalgic whispery glow surrounds the whole set, suggesting it should be lived and listened to in a bedroom as well. After an intro called “Outro” (which continues his play on electro-acoustic vocals; layer on layer of floating hums vibrating past the septum to collide with finger snaps and each other like ocean waves) and the aforementioned gem “Man On The Moon”; “Mumblin'” is the first real taste of Sumney’s vocal gymnastics, which combines his way with melody and a crunchy lo-fi soundbed that was earned the old-fashioned way:
I started making “Mid-City Island” in the fall, after a producer friend lent me an ’80s 4-track recorder and suggested I try recording myself before going into proper studio sessions. It was my first time recording myself, capturing songs immediately to cassette tape as I was writing them. I belatedly decided it would be cool to share these ideas in their infancy so you can trace their development over time.
This project for me is about learning how to let go and share ideas that are raw, simple, and unfiltered. A lot of the parts are thus one-take and improvised. “Mumblin’,” which I recorded with my loop pedal connected to the tape machine, is completely made up on the spot and was only done once.
There’s a requisite honesty that comes with bedroom recordings. Thematically, the songs center around living alone in the middle of a big city like Los Angeles, finding the balance between isolation and over stimulation.
Well said. Overall the whole project charms pleasantly surprises–even from an artist we already had high expectations from. Listen to the full Mid-City Island EP and look out for it digitally and on cassette.