UMI - Introspection EP Music Album Reviews

UMI - Introspection EP Music Album Reviews
The Los Angeles singer’s mellow, folk-inflected R&B explores give-and-take in relationships with others and with ourselves. A companion release revisits her recent EP, adding texture and emotion with live instrumentation.

Singer and songwriter UMI, an L.A. transplant by way of Seattle, writes with the earnest, diaristic vulnerability familiar to those raised in an era where self-interrogation is a public, shareable form of artistic expression. She debuted in 2018 with a four-track EP, Interlude, which was soon followed by a single, “Remember Me,” a wistful rendering of love deferred in the vein of Aaliyah’s “Four Page Letter.” Two years later, her Introspection EP signaled a more confident vision of the type of artist she wanted to be: Songs like “Bet” and “Pretty Girl hi!” cast UMI as a child of ’90s R&B with a folky pop twist. Her music is mellow, an unobtrusive soundtrack for daydreaming and long drives; it didn’t quite scratch the surface of the mainstream, but online, it found an audience.

Last week, when Twitter informed me that the high-profile relationship between rappers Saweetie and Quavo was over, UMI’s “Bet Reimagined” was playing in the background. Saweetie had alleged infidelity, observing that no material gift could bandage the betrayal; UMI’s lyrics seemed to encapsulate the separation of a couple who had appeared outwardly perfect, even as one party nursed righteous fury. “I be moving around it/And you on some clown shit/And I ain’t about it/Don’t ever doubt it,” she sings, simultaneously offering a warning and a farewell. “Bet Reimagined” comes from UMI’s latest Introspection Reimagined EP, where she has now dynamically reimagined Introspection’s stories of give-and-take in relationships, both with others and ourselves, with live accompaniment.

For the live version, UMI called more than a dozen collaborators to Santa Monica’s Shangri-La Hotel, where they remixed and rearranged her existing material with their own artistic interpretations. On opener “Introspection,” Hailey Niswanger’s flute and Aisha Gaillard’s drums create a pop-inflected rhythmic background that carries hints of classical music, adding greater tension to the song’s story of stifled rage and emotional insecurity. UMI writes all of her own songs, projecting a purposeful and personal voice, though her lyrics are sometimes weighed down by simplistic musings that land without a great deal of substance. Lines like, “And maybe who I be is enough/And maybe all I need is a hug,” from “Open Up”—now “Open Up Reimagined”—come across as feeble attempts to emote indecision, suggesting an artist who’s still learning to shape compelling narratives from intangible strands.

There are singers whose voices transform a room with their sheer force and range, and others who seep into the atmosphere, adding contrasting colors to empty space. UMI is among the latter, and she’s even better with a live band beside her. On the bleak “Where I Wander,” her feathery tone is knotted by pain and her notes are jagged at the edges. “I just let go of the pressure to hit notes or sound perfect….and when I let go of that it’s like the notes just hit themselves,” she explains in an accompanying documentary. The Reimagined string quartet (bassist Micah Moffett, guitarist Jake Nuffer, cellist Jean Paul, and violinist Victor Ekpo) are steadying companions: They do not take over UMI’s storytelling, nor do they wallow in the background. Instead, they step forward when she recedes, adding texture where it’s needed. The remade EP offers two new tracks, “Beautiful Day” and “Solitude,” interludes that connect the dissolution of a relationship to the stretchy bliss of regeneration. The instrumental arrangement on the latter echoes the darkness of Meshell Ndegeocello’s Bitter; UMI’s vocals are restrained but hopeful.

By reworking an existing body of work, UMI makes her progress something to which we all can bear witness. She dares to show the cracks in her voice, removing the studio polish and letting emotion take over: same person, same songs, different delivery. Some changes are subtle, others more significant. It’s not a small step to take as an up-and-coming artist, and it shows that she’s willing to go out of bounds for the sake of the candor that’s so central to her music. The process of revision can carry a connotation of failure and incompleteness. But when you revise—or in this case reimagine—new possibilities become evident and a type of metamorphosis occurs. It’s not always obvious, but when done well it compels us to accept change and embrace the difference. So then: What about a Saweetie remix?
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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.
UMI - Introspection EP Music Album Reviews UMI - Introspection EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, April 05, 2021 Rating: 5

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