#20 - aya - "what if i should fall asleep and slipp under" and "Emley lights us moor" (tie)
Imagine a darkly-lit ballroom full of tiny anthropomorphic sound splices walking around and having a good time. There’s a clap with a slender neck, a stocky bass note with legs, a triangle-bodied chime wearing a tie, a metronome with eyes, two synth stabs nibbling on hors-d'œuvres, an .mp3 file and a .wav whispering quietly in the corner while ladling fruit punch. That’s what I picture listening to aya’s "what if i should fall asleep and slipp under."
It’s like SOPHIE’s early style (maybe “BIPP”) reimagined as music for disassociation rather than dancing; “what if i should fall asleep and slipp under” has the same kind of metallic, spartan sound design but transformed into haunting and hallucinatory gothic ASMR. (Some of aya’s album im hole works as aural melatonin - the first chunk of track 10 sounds like a fan lightly whirring, a cat purring or someone rippling papers, an ASMR trigger.)
The barebones instrumental makes every individual component feel so much more vivid, each sound striking with purpose. For something so restrained and sonically off-kilter, it’s hard to imagine unleashing your body to it, but the song has an addictive vibration. Your guide across this twisted dancefloor is aya, her voice spanning crinkly whispers, mutated croaks, cries that swerve between multiple octaves in a single second, and all-out shouts about how she’s “now ecstatic… anaphylactic.” The lyrics aren’t always intelligible but when they are they penetrate. “Come over we could fuck the void out of each other,” she says like a character from Under the Skin.
And then there’s “Emley lights us moor” featuring Iceboy Violet. Whispering fretfully over a brooding drill-ish beat, aya’s vocals are difficult to decipher, but it doesn’t really matter because her words, interrupted every now and then by icy inhales as she breathes between lines, work as pure texture.
Check out aya: