Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
One Mind Stand™’s journey starts as it means to go on. There is an adventurous contrast of sound as Cry moves from melancholic piano, to well-paced Imogen Heap vocals strewn across an empty soundscape, to heavy, thundering viscera. Each part of the track is sad, but all are wildly different, and it takes a daring skill to thread them together. However, the glaring variety of Cry is topped immediately on Next Life, which finds the artist blending GameCube sound effects, Drake and Iyaz. Burn brings an incredible melding of pop and R&B tracks. As the listener finds their way through the smog of sound, they realise how odd it is to hear such tracks out of their own context. Other than novelty mash ups, these incredibly successful post-noughties songs are usually treated with commercial respect in the mainstream music sphere. But One Mind Stand™ brings them all to one level, dragging them all into swirling torrent of pop.
Though the inclusion of recognisable songs is a defining characteristic of ☹. One Mind Stand™ takes a great deal of care in creating an original atmosphere. The announcement at the beginning of Lay Back and Watch the Clouds conjures images of a hard airport-esque space in the listener's mind, one that both accentuates and satirises the dramatic movements and crescendos of a song. We hear Ian Van Dahl, Vanessa Carlton, we even hear the recognisable piano playing of one Tay Zonday and his viral classic. Not only are they cycling through a number of styles, the artist gives no thought to the context of each track used. Castles in the Sky is an emotive - albeit a little saccharine - dance song that listeners might have a personal connection with. Chocolate Rain, on the other hand, is a track that lives solely in the collective consciousness; a viral video that inspires laughter rather than sorrow. This causes the contents of ☹ to exist in a very interesting space, straddling the line between personal and social, and the use of atmospheric reverb illustrates this limbo.
Numb is an incredible moment on the EP. By the penultimate track, the sudden switch from one track to the other has become a recurring factor. Much of the time, One Mind Stand™ transitions in the very middle of an intensely percussive section to accentuate the blink-and-you-miss it shift to a completely different song. Numb, however, proves beyond all doubt that the artist is also able to utilise the same premise in a sparse and slow-paced soundscape. Akon, Leona Lewis, Evanescence and more all feature, cloaked in this warm glow of sound in what is a touching track.
☹ can be enjoyed on a very novelty level. There is a joyousness that comes with every unexpected track that crashes through, every unlikely combination. The EP can also be appreciated as its own, mad-hat creation; existing as a unique collage of sounds and styles. It is when the listener purposely drifts in the space between these two stases, that the brilliance of the work is revealed. From this middle point we can watch One Mind Stand™ simultaneously create two strands: one shockingly original, and the other, a Frankenstein's monster of sound.