brakence - hypochondriac Music Album Reviews

brakence - hypochondriac Music Album Reviews
Heady, self-loathing, and occasionally overwrought, the Ohio singer and producer’s new album plays like an obsessive process document of internet-mediated anxiety.

brakence’s songs surge with combative angst and agitate with electronic detail, never resolving to easy conclusions. “argyle,” the lead single from the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s new album, hypochondriac, is indecisive, a spiraling emo-pop garden without a path. As brakence wrestles with dissatisfaction at his music career (“I was tryna make a living/Well, I did, and now I don’t wanna live at all”), his drums feel just as speculative, wandering between careful, metallic snares and clipped scratches.

In July, a fellow producer asked the r/brakence fan subreddit for advice on how to make similarly distinct sounds. brakence himself answered, rattling off different technical approaches, linking some sample packs to try out, and offering a visual exercise: “Try closing your eyes and ask, what do my [percussion samples], or the beat in general, feel like?” he suggested. “Wood? Oil in a frying pan? Water droplets? Bugs? Industrial machines? [...] Use your imagination!”

Despite its surface-level similarity, brakence’s music doesn’t originate in hyperpop, as he’s often categorized, but painstaking beatcraft. He’s a self-described “synth nerd from the suburbs,” one of many Ableton wunderkinds who, in the wake of the 2010s EDM boom, found a home in an online ecosystem of traded samples and tutorials, staggered drum programming indebted to the L.A. beat scene, and vibe-based YouTube channels. Although brakence is somewhat private—he didn’t reveal his face until a couple years into his career—he’s become a zoomer star with an eager internet audience. On hypochondriac, he warps pop structures with gauzy sound design and hair-trigger songwriting, always bristling at the ill-fitting expectations of his artistic persona.

hypochondriac upgrades the woozy beat-tape presentation of brakence’s previous albums to a neurotic polish, so thick with effort that its psychic assault can sometimes be hard to take. He cocoons himself within his audio software to tweak his songs as they stack and unfurl. On “5g,” his feverish, drill-inspired instrumental and emo rap hooks feel like they’re in different dimensions, held together by a ghost in the machine. Vocal samples surface like glitches in the Matrix, often with a disarming, nerdy sense of humor: On “caffeine,” he reimagines the infamous Super Smash Bros. Melee “wombo combo” soundbite as an EDM riser.

Moments like these illuminate the album’s closest link to hyperpop: the way its litany of online reference points lets you see the gears turning in an artist’s head, soliciting emotional investment through audacity. brakence begins “caffeine” like a clunkier version of his 2018 single “effort,” with self-satisfied bars that recall the most annoying kind of YouTube rapper: “How this shit ain’t obvious to you? I’m not even 21/My music be the snobbiest, somehow I’m still gon’ get it done.” Two minutes in, he injects the track with Jersey club stimulants and becomes increasingly frantic until he sounds almost possessed. brakence’s irascible vocals pull from the streaming-era tones of singer-songwriters like EDEN, but lurch in all directions as his attitudes shift. They make fumbled overshares sting, like when he likens playing guitar to “finger-fuck[ing] strings” on “bugging!” But they also fill out his studied songs with volatile personality, making his intentions difficult to pin down.

On hypochondriac, brakence fixates on a familiar catch-22: the realization that when you express your vulnerability to an online audience—through a tweet, a lyric, or a DAW —the performance can curdle into something that feels dissociative, even parasitic, draining your energy as it rewards you with attention. “I hit control-alt-delete/And yet I can’t stop manufacturing heat,” he frets on “teeth”; constant visibility lingers at the back of his mind even when he’s alone. Some of his younger peers, like his touring partner Jane Remover or quinn, have worked in a similar songwriting mode before. Here, brakence makes his anxieties his muse. His solipsism can grate over a full album, but the wealth of imagery he finds to describe it—Greek mythology, DMT hallucinations, his titular fear for his health—gives hypochondriac a writerly quality.

This is a heady, self-loathing, and occasionally overwrought record, but its best songs stumble upon something earnest. The regimented pop groove of “cbd” pulls brakence out of his shell: Even as he insists no one cares for him, the smallness of his voice seems to reach out for connection. He finds pathos in clutter, too, like on album highlight “intellectual greed.” Tangled guitars, piano rolls, and electronic scrawls skitter across the track, as if brakence were crumpling up ideas and tossing them aside. “I know everything,” he sings, his voice overwhelmed with mania; he could be bragging about his musical technique, lamenting information overload, or lashing out at the millions of eyes watching him work. hypochondriac’s strength is how, in its obsessive commitment to an impenetrable style, it can suggest all of these readings at once. 
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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.
brakence - hypochondriac Music Album Reviews brakence - hypochondriac Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 22, 2022 Rating: 5


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