Sui Zhen, Female Basic – EP review

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Melbourne-based musician Sui Zhen returns with something of a direction-change in the form of her new EP, Female Basic. While the core foundations of a Sui Zhen record – sweet vocals floating above elegantly crafted songs – are in place, here we are offered something completely different. This is a take on “Japanese post-punk through a baleric-bossanova filter”.

Lead single Pipe Dreams illustrates this sizeable shift, as the pretty acoustic guitar and cute lyrics we’ve come to expect are instead replaced by otherworldly vocals over an entrancing beat. The song doesn’t force itself upon you unwelcomely, but rather drifts into your consciousness before seizing and mesmerising you.

Similarly, Dekopon Dance is minimal and hypnotic. It’s the sound of an evening that has turned into early morning in someone’s front room as the dawn threatens to crawl through the curtains. With bleeps, beats and distant, echoed vocals, it’s dreamy in a way that nods in the direction of Air’s Moon Safari or certain aspects of Zero Seven. Things get even woozier from here on and deliciously so. The vocals are layered and distorted on Beige Dip and, on Orange Water, Sui Zhen channels Grimes with her delivery. Final track, the insistent Stargate, is a kaleidoscope of sounds and ends the EP in a suitably trippy fashion.

Female Basic is the feeling of laying on the grass, eyes closed, sun warming your skin, while beats from a distant boombox seduce your ears, half-audible conversations tease your interest and slow-motion memories of the previous night permeate your thoughts. You’d do well to allow this interesting EP to hypnotise you.

Female Basic is available from May 1st through Teto Records on limited-edition cassette and digital. All cassettes come with download code with high quality digital versions of all included songs. Check out lead-single, Pipe Dreams, below…


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Sui Zhen, Female Basic review by Bobby Townsend