MP3: CozyLab – To Be Free
MP3: CozyLab – Glowy
It seems projects largely consigned to bedrooms or behind closed doors are producing some of the most engaging stuff I’ve been hearing as of late. Take Virginia/DC-based CozyLab, the main outlet for Bobby Azarian and a rotating collective of (mostly) female vocalists and other collaborators, CozyLab creates lush, engrossing soundscapes, their churning build and the impeccably dulcet, oft heavy-lidded female vocals openly wear their admiration for the more pastoral and hypnotizing works of Bjork. It’s nearly impossible to tell that hardcore and metal were parts of Azarian’s musical lineage (only belied by the occassionally more aggro beat here or there); his dance-pop roots are squarely in the spotlight. CozyLab ply numerous electronic bits into traditional song structures to resemble some kind of meticulously-constructed aural mosaic, easily digested as a whole picture with just your right brain on, yet laden with so many independently evolving textures and layers that things become infinitely more rewarding once your left brain kicks in and you start teasing things apart.
“Vertigo” whips you with its spiraling industrial/dancehall beat and bass line, providing a propulsive undertow anchoring the wispy, slightly off-key vocals and a dizzying array of sounds from both synths and traditional instruments. A melange that is gloriously dark and addictive. ”Glowy Glowy” is delicious electronic funk, showing MGMT how it’s truly done. ”To Be Free” opens with you swimming in the spacious and dreamy, underwater depths of electronic loops, only to be caught in the enchanting wake of more motivating synth lines and loftier vocals that take you on a journey that melts the world away. ”Maldjusted Me” features some great lyrical turns, and complements it with a major key resolution to the persistent and gloomy minor key groove from its opening. ”Him” makes an impassioned manifesto for soulful electronica, the down-tempo pulsating and extraterrestrial music backing some startlingly lucid, R&B-inspired vocal work. This is all just a taste of things to come as Azarian and cohorts solidify their approach, polish off two new tracks and attempt to navigate a live performance arrangement, all future ventures that I will be watching closely. Hopefully you agree.