SONNY BOY SAGE
Media, United States
Ecdysis - in layman’s terms, the shedding of the skin - in today's use case, however, Ecdysis is the title of Sonny Boy Sage’s debut album. It is a fitting title for an album that feels euphoric and tells a riveting story. It features instrumental sounds and dark synths to drive home an experimental electronic beat-wave vibe that is thick with passion. The album makes use of spoken word sections, notably some Buddhist chanting, that adds to this message of humanity and the noise existing separately and together, all at once.
The album starts us off with ‘Gone, Gone’ a song that slowly builds in layers and textures. It is a fever dream. Beeps of equipment alight and shine through the veil of dissonant chords and synth pads that breathe in the background. The vocal is arhythmic and adds so much depth to the song, the beat drops in and we are treated to a harmonic brass section and high modern vocal frills. The minimal use of drums does this track wonders, as a listener, we are permitted to breathe between the gaps in the sounds to take note briefly of what is going on around us as the song shifts back to reality and closes.
‘Dead Now March’ is up next and fuses some experimental sounds with a classical electric beat to deliver something bold and new. The song pulses with dark energy and feels futuristic in its composition, almost alien in a way. Then when the vocal clips chime, we are reminded once again of humanity. The song pushes and pulls us away from the idea that there is a world beyond the sound, it breaks through occasionally and it is a highlight, then back to the depths. ‘Dead Now March’ embodies the feeling of the album as a whole. It is a story of revival and belonging and rediscovery. We have all had those journeys and it is enlightening to hear the mental process of another, chewing on their disdain with music.
I implore you to listen to this album whole. It is a creature. It shifts and steps with a gait, one that allows for a total picture to be painted inside your head. But if I had to pull you in with just one song it would be, ‘Where Is the One Without You Things Fall Apart’. It is endlessly weird and catchy all at once. The gritty midsection is a real hook that grows and sways in the dark and the plucky drones keep us awake whether we like it own not. The arpeggio in the back bounces and conducts the drums around itself building this rock-solid backing that rushes forward. ‘Where Is the One Without You Things Fall Apart’ is a true sonic blending of story and soundscape, once it has entrapped you, you won’t be able to resist the rest of Ecdysis anyhow.
The album closes out with two last songs ‘Silence, Mara’ is a smooth funky number that makes great use of sub-bass and piano sounds mixed with audio clips and electric scales. Add some guitar riffs and you have a thought-provoking slow jam for the favourites list. ‘The Other Shore’ is the end of the album and the journey that you too embarked on. It is rich and angelic. Organs build the foundation as we rise to a new level of speed for Ecdysis. The electric influence comes in and the chanting keeps the beat alive. It is uplifting, the light at the end of the tunnel and is so much warmer after the journey of the songs that came before it. Sonny Boy Sage is new to the scene but he won’t be for long, because with sounds like this I feel he is already a mainstay of the experimental electric genre.