Illuminati Hotties - FREE I.H.: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For Music Album Reviews

Sarah Tudzin’s boundless enthusiasm and bottomless bag of studio tricks dispel the tension of a DIY “mixtape” self-released in part to fulfill the obligations of a label breakup.

Already the dominant mode for boundary-pushing rap and electronic music, mixtapes offer artists a way to release new work quickly and with fewer legal hurdles—and they’re increasingly embraced by pop musicians. Charli XCX’s Pop 2 codified her future-pop with an eclectic network of collaborators, freely assembled away from the gaze of Atlantic Records. Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz wasn’t explicitly a mixtape, but by releasing it independently, Cyrus ensured that her fried psychedelia wouldn’t have to pass muster with RCA. For musicians looking to make the best of a strict contract, off-label releases offer an opportunity to evade the pressures of commercialism. Their rawness, real or perceived, acts as a bridge between an artist’s behind-the-scenes creative process and their official output.
But the mixtape format wasn’t how Los Angeles studio vet Sarah Tudzin pictured her second release as Illuminati Hotties. She spent 2019 carefully piecing together a follow-up to her exuberant 2018 debut, Kill Yr Frenemies. Her plans deteriorated when her label, Tiny Engines, began drawing public criticism from its artists, who complained of delayed payments and silence from executives. Like several other musicians embroiled in the alleged mismanagement, Tudzin decided to buy out her contract. When she secured an exit deal stipulating that she give Tiny Engines the royalties payments on a future release, she paused the second record and instead poured her energy into FREE I.H.: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For, a “mixtape” self-released in part to fulfill the obligations of her exit agreement. Clocking in at 12 songs in just over 20 minutes, FREE I.H. collapses the hurried conditions of its creation and the engineering and production acumen of its creator, overflowing with intricate flourishes that hint at the potential of Tudzin’s eventual second full-length.

As with Kiss Yr Frenemies, FREE I.H. spans an impressive range of styles, each self-contained within the internal logic of their own genres and anchored by Tudzin’s sharp, nasally timbre. Tudzin has frequently described Illuminati Hotties as a sort of résumé for her prolific work as a studio engineer and producer, and her bottomless bag of tricks is on full display here. Skits and instrumental tracks pay homage to the mixtape format while reinforcing her range: She churns out Container-esque digital noise on “free4all” and layers sound effects for radio skit “K-HOT AM 818.” There’s the tinny garage rock of “free ppls,” the upbeat jangle pop of “b yr own b,” the pummeling punk of “WATTBL.” But Tudzin also reaches further beyond the boundaries of what she’s dubbed “tenderpunk.” With a motorik bassline that crashes into a cheerleader call-and-response chorus, “content//bedtime” blends disparate styles with exuberance and ease. Even further left field is “melatonezone,” which uses polyrhythms and chirps to recontextualize the sounds of Afropop within her base framework of pop punk and indie pop. FREE I.H. is a lot shorter than Kiss Yr Frenemies, but it arguably packs in more stylistic variation and studio maneuvers.

Online, Tudzin has kept relatively mum about her frustrations with Tiny Engines, but on FREE I.H., she delivers venom on nearly every track. “WATTBL” features thinly veiled references to “crooked finance,” and “K-HOT AM 818” delivers a word of warning with an audible shit-eating grin: “Hold on to your masters, folks!” The vehemence of her accusations suits the exaggerated swagger of the record as a whole. “Let’s smash to a podcast!” she yells with a gleeful sneer on “will i get canceled if i write a song called ‘if you were a man you’d be so canceled,’” a gnarled ode to machismo. Her spirited delivery eases the tension of an album released under inauspicious circumstances—what could have been a morose or awkward subject instead becomes a playful enemy. Tudzin’s boundless enthusiasm evokes a cartoonish protagonist in a series of imagined environments both real and digital, with passing references to “w w dot illuminati hotties” and “Illuminati HotQuarters.” You root for her not only because of the inherent redemption arc, but because of the obvious joy she takes in channeling her fury into pop.

In interview after interview, Tudzin is quick to declare her love for her chosen profession, describing the process of recording and performing as “making art.” Her respect for her craft shines throughout the record, a surprisingly joyful release ostensibly about a bad business deal. FREE I.H. skews louder and gnarlier than its predecessor, for obvious reasons. But Tudzin has a knack for making even quiet moments feel huge. On the smoldering slow-burn “free dumb,” a twee male-female duet escalates into a mountain of overdriven guitars and jangling percussion; just as the errant synth enters the mix, the song abruptly fades away, a spectre of a climactic anthem. It leaves the impression, like much of the mixtape, that these brief recordings are icebergs, concealing entire universes in their shadow.
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Illuminati Hotties - FREE I.H.: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For Music Album Reviews Illuminati Hotties - FREE I.H.: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, July 31, 2020 Rating: 5

0 comments:

Post a Comment