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Revisiting, or at least, first encountering Tracy Chen’s two-year-old collection of songs is a revelation. Recently, Chen spotlighted her compilation with its recent upload to popular audio stream services. Simply titled Songs, the four-track collection is an intimate affair that will reward it’s most attentive listeners. The Melbourne, Australia based musician draws influences from K-Pop groups such as GOT7, but seemingly the everyday plays a much more major role in her music.
Conjuring stripped down ambient pop, Chen works in sounds from objects that are not considered to be instruments. Using common items such as paper and plastic wrappers, Chen compiles organic compositions that gently burrow into the deepest crevasses of your subconscious.
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The collection’s lead track, “Eggs”, is an enveloped composition whisked with soothing hisses and muted murmurs. Canvasing the canvas, Chen’s songs begin in their purest form. Notes and sounds are played with emotional intuition rather than the rigidness set by time. Samples feel incomplete, jarring and jagged, but when woven together, Chen creates cohesive magic from thin air.
Prominently featuring guitars, “Okay” diverges from ambiance to wistful trip-folk. Featuring sampled pedal clicks that feel strangely similar to those featured in The Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The 36 Chambers, adds a bit of coldness to the track. Reminiscent to SALES, Chen combines buoyant guitar with slick syncopated beats, for the grooviest track of the bunch.
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Throughout “Dirt”, piercing guitar pedal clicks intermittently as a ruminating ambiance hums with complacency. Chen’s vocals fade intermittently fade in and out of focus of the frame. None of the instruments and samples featured feel like as if they’re locked in to the composition or dependent on one another.
On the most enigmatic track of the set, “Moving”, Chen creates beauty through despondency. A warm plumes drone flows in and out of the foreground as recordings of movement intrude. Intensifying at times, the singular drone oscillates in tenor but consistently tingles with melancholy.
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Without a word, Tracy Chen crafts music that is emotive and sanguine. It would be hard to avoid assessing the record with the phenomenon ASMR and how some it’s concepts manifest all throughout the record. Chen augments those insular qualities to amplify the intimacy of her sound. The four tracks that make up Songs are a brief sampling of what will come, with the hopes that Chen will be gracing the world with her healing music.
Cereal Pairing: Apple Jacks