Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
Keys flutter down like snowflakes on an icy, fragile surface, as throbbing feedback like a headache reveals itself. A gurgled, childlike voice speaks out into the uncertain vista. The odd infantilising of her voice furthers the feeling of innocent eeriness that CURRENTMOODGIRL will scurry back to fairly frequently throughout the runtime of Side Split. The artist contorting her voice both performatively and artificially through effects in order to pendulum from innocence to dominance. She strides forward into Sleepless 111, a brisk march through a stuffy, derelict landscape. The listener is introduced to the artist’s use of vocal elasticity as she repeats the word ‘sleepless’ followed by the repeated line ‘can you tell me why?’ that claws at you like the murmurings of some unstable person. CURRENTMOODGIRL plays with the words in her mouth, lolling them around so they spray out in a distorted fashion, before her voice stretches out far beyond the view of the listener.
The strange dormancy still reigns supreme as the instrumentation reprises a slow and laboured style into My Own. However, in many ways, CURRENTMOODGIRL’s vocals begin to stamp a little more triumphantly. She creates a nervy atmosphere with lyrics like ‘I can’t breathe without you’, to then lift the listener up into the air with a proud exclamation of independence, her vocals opening up cracks in the murk through which heavenly light beams down toward the listener.
RED (In bed) snakes its way into being with elusive choral purges and more sinister percussion. ‘I hate you with all of my body’, the line seeps out with such malice, held up by a skeletal selection of percussive sounds before a wave of sub bass unearths itself. Again, the artist masterfully manipulates her voice as it skips fiendishly through the drums, to then spit as a blood-coloured mist descends. The anger nudges the instrumentation into alarm-like pulsing as it follows her lead, an amalgamation of dark, electronic anger and torrid dissonance. The winding nature of CURRENTMOODGIRL’s vocals is in some ways recognisable, fleetingly reminiscent of celebrated female vocalists/producers. But as she leads the listener forward into a labyrinth of passion and despair, snagging on words and wheeling off into wild exclamations, there is something there that is truly unique.
The production on Side Split reaches its pinnacle at the very end. I FEEL HAPPY switches from a blurred, dreamy euphoria to what can only be described as a melding of one of the more melodious early cuts from Dizzee Rascal, and some crazed Anime carousel ride. Pitched voices dance out a sickeningly smile-ridden melody as the listener rides on a plastic boat through some twisted Disney ride. We lose CURRENTMOODGIRL as she skips out of our sight at points, exclaiming her happiness with inescapable tinges of anger and overexcitement. The instrumentation carries with it a feeling of naivety, each quaint note appearing like a vibrantly coloured sprite who will explode in a ball of flames if you get too near. In this way, the artist perfectly displays a frantic shifting between happiness and sadness, culminating in a crazed volatility. CURRENTMOODGIRL sits amongst a courtyard of astute breathy pipes, purporting sudden feelings of depression like a spoiled monarch. The pipes ensnare around her, dragging her deeper into this wistful swirl of woodwind. All that we are left with is a strange nonsensical chant delivered with an icy voice, tying the EP off with an oddly whimsical energy.
Side Split consistently displays CURRENTMOODGIRL's performative talents and production skills. The two aspects work in tandem, despite being unpredictable and boisterous at times. It is fair to say that the unique nature of her vocals often shines brightest, but in the creation of a soundscape that feels both freeform and intimidating, the production does exactly what it needs to do. It ensures that the basis of Side Split is in its engaging meshing of experimental sounds and electronic pop. The brevity of the EP is frustrating, but indicative of the work it must have taken to create four such incredible tracks.