super emo



Louis Pelingen

June 7, 2024

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

The deliberately chaotic mess this artist is adept at spewing comes through crisper and more precise than ever on this glittery release

Switching up from a usual routine can shift your perspective, from the most mundane changes to the most life-altering ones. Case in point, ACTIVE PRESENCE’s production style, though messy to the point of maddening brilliance, is not too maze-like or confusing that the methodology used to create it can’t be changed. In the artist’s last two outings, things have taken a sleeker sound. Textures and movements are deeper and more evidently arranged, compared to the sharp and shallow glow of I never felt such emotion™. With this sleeker sound, emotion is clambering through the wreckage of the artist’s latest release, super emo in a wholly different way than before.

Working within the brief runtimes that ACTIVE PRESENCE splurges into creates an opportunity for the ever-curious, hyperactive musicality to jump out at the listener. The fullness of the instrumentation – fit now with layers upon layers of auditory twists and turns – goes even further on this latest release. Cosmic connection and glam rain bring a playful extravagance within their melodies that mould and break apart with a childlike carelessness, owing to the hyperactive happy-go-lucky vibe of both.

Elsewhere, Prince rpg plodding beat immediately puts the listener into an incredibly detailed but crudely block-y video game world, weaving in the harmonious buzzy synth melodies that entice with a joyous tone. The whipping watery sound that starts to leak through feels entirely independent from these tunes but joins with the rest as the cluttered soundscape is cleared towards the end of the track. Hyaluronica follows a similar vein of giddy sonic sensibilities, letting the 808 drum pads scamper across the retro synth pads that carry the melodic foundation of the song. It feels like a level from Rugrats: Search for Reptar at 4x pace.

super emo is laden with progressions and switch-ups. The titular opening track makes use of its almost 4-minute runtime to indulge the listener with its wobbling melodic construction. As before, though it has a chippy texture, its layers are deep: from the splunkering synths pads that buzz and swell to the sharp drums that shuffle and scratch in unexpected directions. 

prove yourself lets the listener coast without much bewildering turbulence – being that it’s ACTIVE PRESENCE, there’s always some. Wistful R&B-sweetened keys sound thick and illustrious. The hypnotic spurts of buena vista are both overwhelming and relaxing in equal measure, genuinely pained glassy melodies contrasting with the comical plodding bass. Spritely faces and objects that swarm into view could be seen as either gleeful or glum in this particular track. 

Closers In the place and dream within a dream offer the dreamiest and calming spaces from the entire record, the former almost sounding as if a soaring jungle rhythm is set to burst out before a demented platformer-style beat starts. The quaint glistening synth progressions of the latter soften our exit from the artist’s latest breathtaking creation. 

How is this artist able to expand on strange, spontaneous-sounding chaos? Somehow in super emo, compositional creativity is broadened and textural collages further muddled. This creates a more highly defined array of tones; a wealth of captivating moments. Brief in supply, yet immense. The deep and corrosive acidic wonderland the artist is such a master of creating just became a whole lot deeper.