crumbling

Mid-Air Thief’s ‘Crumbling’ earns high praise from critics

Jan 23 • Arts & Leisure, Top Stories • 370

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Let’s start by saying Happy New Year to all and welcome to the new and improved 2019. Let’s strive together to make this an equally good and quality year as 2018 was…in terms of music, I mean.
Since most artists don’t release new music until the middle of January, there hasn’t been much coming out the last few weeks that is worth talking about.
So, I present to you, “Crumbling.” I am sitting around thinking about my senior year and this completely passed me by.
I am extremely saddened that it did because it might have beaten out my No. 1 album of 2018, which is scary because Rolo Tomassi came out with one of the best and relevant statements in a long time.
Mid-Air Thief is a South Korean solo project from Ms. Summer Soul, but honestly that will mean nothing to you and it meant nothing to me either.
After some Googling around and some Google translating, I was able to discover that she is a DIY dream pop and synth pop artist who has been making music since 2012 under this name, but also releases her own solo work under her own name.
But, let’s get to “Crumbling.” It is one of the most beautiful works of art that has come across my ears in a long time.
At its core, it is a folk and electronic fusion album that dabbles in more of the latter element.
This is a tough idea because, on the surface, folk music is supposed to be very “ruff” and personal, using acoustic guitar and drums to create a very deep yet simple listen.
Well, Soul somehow accomplishes that with the use of a very clean synthesizer and the product is something absolutely stunning.
Her influences come from so many different folk backgrounds and electronic backgrounds that it can’t be pinned to a real set of genres or ideas.
It has elements of dream pop, indie pop, indie folk, Avant-guard folk, progressive pop, electronica, ambient, psychedelic pop, spoken word, glitch-hop, hip-hop and many more genres.
From the opening track “Why?,” you are serenaded by a lush male and female vocal duo, over a distant sounding acoustic guitar.
As the track builds, you are presented with some very bouncy and flowing synth chords that create a sunny and beachy feel, which, instead of clashing with the acoustic guitar, help to build more structure and flow than ever before.
Then there is a transition in the song when Soul brings in some very glitchy and oddly arranged synth chimes that eventually get used to create a flamboyant backbeat for these very angelic and serene vocals.
Later down the track list is “Curve and Light,” which sounds like an ‘80s dance hall beat that creates a perfect picture of sunny days, happy times and cool vibes, later transitioning into a drunken, psychedelic and disorienting feel with more amazing duet vocals.
This is only a small highlight of two of the tracks off the record and each track has its own corky feel to it that continues to chill my spine every time I listen to it.
On the surface, the beats, grooves, synths, chords and progression of each track creates a serene scene of summer and the beach.
If you listen closely, you can even hear the waves crashing up against the shores.
However, I believe there is a darker and more sinister feeling coming from the project, just like the picture depicts on the cover of the record: a cold, windy and cloudy day.
I can’t speak Korean and Google translate isn’t always the best at translating things, but I can do my best. And what I take away from the record is it goes into some detail about life and death and how so many people can put on this happy and bright face, but deep down they themselves are crumbling.
In conclusion, this is a flawless record from front to back.
The DIY production, the smooth progression, the intricate and waving chords and the intense genre blend makes this stand out from the rest of the records that came out in 2018.
Honestly, this easily gets a 5/5 in my book.
Happy listening, Gannon University!

ALLAN COLLINS
collins049@knights.gannon.edu

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