Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Album: Hey What
Label: Sub Pop Records
Non-Airable Tracks: n/a
Something lays in the glitchy landscape. It’s a fuzzy, inconceivable blob of polygons, completely untouched by human sight. We know something is there, but we are so apprehensive that we become numb to the fear. Low’s “Hey What” evokes just that: an incomprehensible fear.
And yes, that was just my reaction. “Hey… what?”
Low’s last work, “Double Negative”, while meandering quite a bit in experimental style, never truly felt realized. Each track felt like it was pertaining to something not previously mentioned or foreseen. It’s a neat experience overall, just not one that catches my ears that much. This new record plays to their slowcore roots, just adding more of an avant-garde resonance.
“White Horses” is, practically, one of the best openers of the year so far, and houses some of the most interesting sonic textures that have passed me by. The rhythmic and sharp sputters of glitch feel like the world’s most tongue-and-cheek ASMR, a constant neo-drone of endless twinged hums, until the track finally fades out with its hypnotizing, swirling cacophony of archaic data.
The bass tones on “Disappearing” sent my jaw straight to the floor, rumbling the inner chasms of it’s very own composition. The track feels like a distorted Liturgical hymn, orally passed down through hundreds of generations until it’s reached a shivering amalgamation of sonic bliss. It feels like a prelude to a track later on in the listing, “Hey”, with a shimmering glow of vocal chanting and dystopian, dream pop sensibilities.
This record’s tracklist is immaculately constructed, and it’s one of the aspects I respect the most about “Hey What.” Fitting together sheer brilliant, otherworldly tracks like “Days Like These” (which I may add, made me absolutely lose my mind with it’s vocal layering) with lush, pillowy tracks like “Don’t Walk Away” makes for one of the most cohesive and concise records of 2021. It’s a staple of how modern albums of the same artistic tone and style should flow.
I attribute much of what I hear in “Hey What” to the metaphorical location of the uncanny valley, an idea of something just enough resembling a human being until it’s looked at for longer than necessary, and it becomes even more difficult to connect with emotionally. Case in point, the record’s title, and the penultimate track “More”, which throws the listener into the record’s most dense, deliberate, and icy distortion. We feel like we’re still trekking through a wasteland and seeing something buried beneath the snow, unable to make out anything about it.
Color: White, Orange, Blue
Wreck and Reference - Alien Pains
Made Fratti - Será que ahora podremos entendernos
Yeule - Serotonin II
Days Like These
Reviewer’s Name: Trey Cardi
Date of Review: 9/9/21