Dark and foreboding. That’s the opening melodic spread of the paintbrush on “Lose a Love”, the first song off Cubbi’s upcoming April 19th EP nothingspecial.
The South African producer, songwriter, and artist’s opening piano strokes on the song build into an unsettled, murky scene of barely contained emotional wreckage. Combined with the undertow of Cubbi’s eerily swaying vocals, “Love” holds a gentle wave of shape somewhere in the spiderwebbed, machine organic world of a James Blake or Bon Iver.
The track has an apt name for the aching it creates. The loss of what our heart dares to hold onto in this world can be a gossamer, fragile thing. It can be as solitary as the back attic closet and as wide open as the ocean floor. Especially when shattered. And this song feels those moments in its roots.
Some can dismiss the element of electronic sound in the art of music with sentiment. That true cathartic release can only come at the expense of showing off the barest broken bones under the most unfiltered circumstances. But songs like “Love” demonstrate the truth of what molding one’s fingers into that digital clay can create. There’s still plenty human to be found beneath the 1’s and 0’s.
“GTFO” trades in the solitary gloom to roll on a dance floor of shiny hip-hop rhythm, while “Fall Out Boy” adds a shot of X Ambassadors with a chaser of club remix throwing down the gauntlet of a hopping bass line. “Rippling” meanwhile sounds like Ed Sheeran in a blender with Radiohead’s “Faust Arp”. And when that quiet acoustic intro chops and spreads out into an ink bloom of an earworming groove… you’ll stay well-attached to the repeat button.
“White Lies, Like Flies” closes nothingspecial like a slow breath as it returns to the dwell introduced by “Lose a Love”. It’s haunting lines evoke Perfume Genius, but this world belongs purely to Cubbi as he reflects on a broken relationship. It may be one of humanity’s most well-known plot lines at this point, but there are few things on the planet more evocative than someone that can truly sing of pain, turmoil, and loss. Especially when love goes… and you have to learn to go with it.
Listen to singles “Buzzkill” and “White Lies, Like Flies” below, and check out Cubbi on Facebook!